Suppose someone were to go through the last several issues of the leading trade journals for in-house counsel. If that person categorized the articles and columns as primarily having to do with substantive legal topics or primarily with law department management, what do you think the percentage would be? I suspect that less than 15 percent of the material primarily addresses management topics.
Likewise, if someone divided sessions at conferences into substantive or management topics, I would surmise that the same ratio holds. Panels and presentations on management issues might take up about 15 percent of the time slots.
One other indicator might be the membership of the Law Department Management Committee of ACC. I do not have its membership figures, and since membership is free it is certain that some have signed up without genuine interest. Still, the ratio might be on the order of one out of seven or eight ACC members (about 15%) who indicate some interest in law department management by signing up for the Committee.
Perhaps we can take those metrics as proxies for how much time in-house counsel devotes to improving the efficiency of their department’s operations. Most in-house lawyers practice law nearly all of the time, and that is just fine by them; they do not concern themselves with how effectively they and their colleagues function (See my post of Oct. 30, 2005 on administrative time squeezing out substantive legal time.).