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Some law departments have large numbers of lawyers based in different countries

A profile of Peter Bevan, group general counsel of British Petroleum for the past 15 years, which ran in Law Dept Quart., Vol. 2, May-July 2006 at 41. The profile states that there are approximately 400 lawyers worldwide in BP’s group legal function.

More pertinently, “The lawyers are based in 36 countries worldwide” and “Individual sub-teams vary in size from one to over seventy lawyers.” Note that the term “sub-teams” may or may not refer to the number of lawyers in those countries, let alone individual locations. But BP must have at least 36 offices with lawyers. Another example of a heavy sprinkling of international offices, drawn from Met. Corp. Counsel, Vol. 15, Feb. 2007 at 31, is the law department of Aon Corporation. Aon scatters approximately 250 professionals in 17 countries (See my post of April 17, 2007 about J&J with its 35 lawyer locations; Oct. 19, 2005 on Goldman Sachs and 90 lawyers outside the US.).

International offices raise many management issues. They include purchase power parity determinations of compensation (See my post of April 22, 2007.); ex pat pay and relocations (See my post of Oct. 10, 2005.), extensive travel obligations for the general counsel, use of local law firms and lawyers who are not native speakers of your language (See my post of April 26, 2006.), currency conversion (See my post of Sept. 5, 2005.), and compliance with local requirements about invoices and their data (See my post of April 22, 2007.).

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