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Substantial percentages of in-house lawyers located away from corporate headquarters

Data of close to 100 law departments, from predominantly US companies, show an interesting pattern. The pattern involves the percentage of lawyers located away from corporate headquarters. Approximately one third of the companies had all their lawyers clustered at headquarters. Approximately one third (actually 42%) based one-third to two-thirds of their lawyers away from headquarters. And approximately one-third (24%) located two-thirds or more of their lawyers geographically away from headquarters (See my post of Sept. 16, 2008: foreign locations of in-house counsel with 11 references.).

Hence, from this sizeable sample, roughly one-third of the law departments fall into each geographic-dispersal band (See my post of June 7, 2006: dueling best practices about lawyers contiguous with clients; May 1, 2005: percentage of lawyers at “headquarters” and legal spend; Nov. 25, 2005: 63% of counsel in one location per study of large law departments; Jan. 18, 2007: “decentralized” and geographic meaning; Nov. 13, 2006: co-location of Carillon lawyers with business unit clients; Sept. 19, 2008: percentages of lawyers at home office of global departments; July 31, 2005: example of co-location at GE; May 5, 2006: Convergys and its three lawyer locations; Sept. 19, 2008: Bombardier’s structure; Dec. 7, 2008 #3: Cargill’s geographic reach; Oct. 3, 2008: Gucci’s spread of lawyers; and June 20, 2008: GE’s dispersed lawyers in Asia.).

Research suggests that diaspora departments may be more efficient (See my post of Jan. 9, 2008: financial performance and geographic spread of talent.).

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