An idea, possibly daft, occurred to me regarding disclosures mandated by the SEC. Would that agency conclude that investors would benefit from having comparative data on legal spend? Would that information materially help the equity markets? If so, would it have the power to require listed U.S. companies to state their total legal spending during their fiscal years reported on? Since legal spend amounts to approximately half of a cent for every dollar of revenue, it may equal something like the compensation granted the five most highly paid officers, which must be disclosed. The impetus for that disclosure goes far beyond simple totals. I thought of this as I read Sylvia Nasar, Grand Pursuit: the story of economic genius (Simon & Schuster 2011) at 305.
After all, companies have to describe material legal liabilities. In 2006 the SEC mandated that companies where boards use peer groups to set compensation must disclose the peer firms. So, might the SEC step into law department benchmarks?