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Nearly thirty percent higher costs per lawyer in decentralized German law departments

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.

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