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IT support – less than one for every 24 in-house lawyers

Corporate Counsel’s 2005 survey of Fortune 500 law departments obtained responses from 139 companies, and more specifically “the person in charge of legal technology.”

An article summarizing the results (May 2005 at pg. 82) stated that on “average there was one IT professional for every 24 lawyers.” (I read that as IT staff of the law department, but the sentence is ambiguous.) Going on, the article acknowledge that a few law departments, like Microsoft’s and DuPont’s, have their own large IT staff; several others have no departmental IT support since they rely on corporate IT.

Skeptical, I question the usefulness of the cited average. Foremost, a median would have given a more realistic number. But also, only those departments who had sufficient interest in a technology survey responded – and perhaps a technology support manager to boot, which likely skews the results upward. And, these are big companies, with large law departments able to support dedicated technologists. Put it all together and I would not be surprised that the internal IT support ratio across a broad spectrum of US law departments is much higher than 1:24 lawyers.

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