I had an opportunity to analyze some of the data collected by ALM Intelligence for its recent benchmark survey. Of the 29 respondent law departments that had at least 10 lawyers, 19 of them (65%) reported having at least one “Legal Administrator.” In the next 19 smaller law departments that had at least five lawyers but not more than nine, only six (about 34%) reported having an administrator. This data suggests that among U.S. law departments at somewhere around eight lawyers, perhaps it becomes as common to have an administrator as not to have one. Since a ratio of one non-lawyer for every lawyer holds commonly in U.S. legal departments, that tipping point would leave approximately 16 people, whose administrative demands – plus external counsel – justify someone in a dedicated law department operations role.
It is also noteworthy that 11 of the law departments reported having an information systems person (and a total of 30) while three more than that had a dedicated financial analyst position (28 total positions in the group). Sophisticated law departments need specialists to help handle their various needs.
To learn more about the Law Department Metrics Benchmark Survey of ALM Legal Intelligence, click here for ALM’s website.