About a year ago I used the data from the 2010 General Counsel Metrics benchmark survey to calculate how 20 industries ranked against each other on four key metrics (See my post of Dec. 1, 2011: legal intensity; and Nov. 30, 2010: eight countries.). This year, at the 600 participant mark, I looked again at 17 of those industries (not having had Insurance last year and dropping Not for Profit). Note that about half the participating law departments are new to this year’s survey, which strengthens the conclusions because they greatly broaden the data set.
The fundamental finding involves stability: the first five industries retained exactly the same standings. The least legally intense industries, by which I mean they had overall the lowest lawyers and lowest staff per billion dollars of revenue and the lowest internal and lowest external spending per billion are Retail; Food & Beverage; Manufacturing (that is a surprise, with all the presumed litigation); Extractive, Mining and Chemicals; and Utilities (surprising, with all the regulation). They have 20-30 participants in each industry, although Manufacturing had more than 100.
As last year, the industries with the highest level of legal intensity included Business Services, Financial Services, and Technology. Only Business Services should raise an eyebrow among that group.
Eight other industries moved up or down one or two positions. Only Aerospace and Technology moved as much as five positions. I will rerun this study at the end of the year, when the General Counsel Metrics benchmark survey has a couple hundred more participants.