David Galbenski, Unbound: How Entrepreneurship is Dramatically Transforming Legal Services Today (2009) at 219-224, includes an interview with Phil Crowley, a senior lawyer in the Johnson & Johnson legal department. I picked out some tidbits.
History: Ken Perry founded the law department in 1934. Someday I would love to write a history of legal departments in the US.
Purpose of in-house lawyers: One of the General Counsel at the company “used to tell candidates during their interviews that at Johnson & Johnson we don’t hire lawyers to practice law; we hire lawyers to drive our business in a legal and ethical manner.” The distinction is crucial for client satisfaction.
Growth: The legal group has grown from 70 lawyers in 1996 to over 280 lawyers in 2008. in the 26 years since 1982, Johnson & Johnson increased its revenue from about 5 billion to over $60 billion and doubled its employees to 120,000. Five times as many lawyers in 14 years; twelve times the revenue in twice that time feels like a parallel growth rate.
Dispersion The law department went from 40 lawyers in one office location in 1982 to over 280 lawyers now in 41 offices around the world.