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Spin-offs shrink law departments, and The Williams Companies dropped by two-thirds

The lead article in Corp. Counsel, March 2011 at 67, profiles seven experienced administrators (aka business managers, managing directors, directors of administration, etc.). The piece on Danette Gallatin of The Williams Companies had a couple of sentences not so much about that role but about dispersion of law departments when its company undergoes corporate meiosis.

”Though its law department is on the smallish side, with 39 attorneys, there were 100 when Gallatin was hired in 2000. Williams shed lawyers when it spun off subsidiaries …” Set aside the mistaken implication that 39 lawyers amounts to a “smallish” department.

Imagine the disruption and disentanglement when two out of three colleagues go their separate ways in a spinoff (See my post of April 9, 2006: Tyco, Cendant and Wendy’s spin offs listed; Sept. 25, 2006: LANXESS spun off from Bayer Chemicals; Nov. 20, 2006: spun off companies and the size of their law departments (FMC Technologies); March 2, 2008: Spectra Energy spun off from Duke Power; Feb. 15, 2009: tough early years for a law department of a spin-off and mentions Kraft from Philip Morris, Catalent from Cardinal Health; and Jan. 21, 2011: Fortune Brands, Motorola, Sara Lee, ITT and Cargill.).

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