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Rees Morrison’s Morsels #77 – additions to earlier posts

What to pay law firms when their lawyers travel for you. The law department of a well-known biotechnology firm permits its outside attorneys to bill travel time, but at a lower rate. They figure it’s unfair to ask an Illinois attorney to take a deposition in San Diego but refuse to pay for travel time to go there, but they also don’t want to pay full rates. This framework may be a reasonable compromise (See my post of May 7, 2008: travel policies for outside counsel with 7 references.)

New blawg relevant to law department management. The Alternative Fee Lawyer is a relatively new blawg. Hosted by D. Michael Grodhaus, a partner in the Columbus, Ohio firm of Waite Schneider Bayless & Chesley, the blawg offers his “reflections on alternatives to the billable hour in setting legal fees for business clients.”

More than $31 billion spent on patent filing fees in 2007. An item in LPO Watch, July 2008 states that more than 1.8 million patent applications were filed worldwide in 2007. The filing costs for that inundation of innovation were between $30 billion and $32 billion. It is not clear whether “filing costs” include preparation and prosecution costs as well as governmental charges, but there is certainly room for growth in patent services offshoring.

Turnover rates of CFOs
. “ In 2007, 2,313 publicly trade companies replaced their CFOs.” That fact comes from research by Liberum Research in New York City, as reported in Corp. Bd. Mbr., Vol. 11, May/June 2008 at 39. In 2005, the comparable number was 1,857. Some of the churn was promotions and lateral moves, many were retirements, and some were firings – even if masked as resignations. According to Tatum LLC, an Atlanta consulting firm, the average tenure of a finance head is just 28 months. What are the figures for general counsel? (See my post of Aug. 14, 2005: suggests around seven years average tenure for GCs of major companies.)

Exports of legal services compared to imports. The American, July/Aug. 2008 at 30, has a bit of data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In a table that shows the “U.S. Edge in Services Trade,” exports of services in the category called “Legal” exceed imports by a ratio of five to one. If that means that for every dollar US companies spend on non-US law firms – importing legal services – five dollars are spent on US law firms, that corroborates points made on this blog about how much so-called international legal work is done onshore (See my post of March 19, 2006: modest need for international lawyers in US law departments.).

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