One of the many interesting parts of the impressive General Counsel Benchmarking Report for 2009 of the German consultants, Otto Henning & Co., discusses the total cost per in-house counsel (Anwalt) of centralized and decentralized law departments. I haven’t had translated all the German text (at 56) but I assume centralized and decentralized reporting structure means the same as we use those terms in English.
A chart shows that for the 56 participating law departments the internal cost per lawyer in 2009 was Euros 231,172 for the centralized departments (approximately $350,000 at the exchange rate during 2008) and Euros 297,967 (approximately $460,000) for decentralized. The difference amounts to a sharp 29 percent. As to such a differential, I have not seen other data on the cost gap between centralized and decentralized law departments. If a cost differential anything like that favors centralized reporting among US law departments, one has to wonder why decentralized reporting – other than overseas – holds anywhere.