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Many US companies with less than $100 million in revenue have an in-house lawyer

The chief blogster here would like to know how many US companies have an employed lawyer. I had thought the tipping point where a company hires its first attorney was several hundred millions in revenue, since the overall median of lawyers per billion is about 5. Ergo, put crudely, at $200 million the statistically typical company would add its first lawyer.

Data teased out of the Fulbright & Jaworski 2008 Litigation Trends Survey suggests a revenue threshold half that figure or lower. The data comes from 358 in-house counsel, of which 22 percent work at companies that report revenues under $100 million. (Another 39 percent of them work at companies that report revenues between $100 million and $999 million.) Thus, 85 companies under $100 million have at least one lawyer.

If we knew how many companies in the US have upwards of $100 million in revenue, and if we knew something about participation rates from that cohort in the F&J survey, we might be able to estimate the frequency of law departments in that revenue category. The, we would be able to refine the threshold for the first lawyer and our estimates of how many companies have law departments.

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