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Legal departments of US companies that do business worldwide will steadily disperse around the globe

Marschall Smith, the general counsel of 3M, makes further geographic dispersion of his lawyers an inexorable trend: “Because 65 to 70 percent of the company’s sales are outside the U.S., so are the majority of our lawyers.” His interview in Inside Counsel, Jan. 2010 at 43, indicates that 3M has its 165 lawyers located at 30 sites (See my post of May 15, 2009 #4: metrics on 3M.). We can foresee that corporate lawyers will follow the money. Where a company makes its money, there it will seat its lawyers.

The $25 billion 3M has appeared on this blog before (See my post of June 20, 2007 #4: Smith’s fourth general counsel position; Oct. 10, 2008: 3M patent lawyers sit regularly with inventors; May 12, 2009: little support for contingency fees at 3M; May 13, 2009: program to train leaders and business-savvy lawyers; March 1, 2010: quarterly teleconferences for all lawyers; and March 2, 2010: replacement of patent lawyers by patent agents.).

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