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The international footprint of lawyers at huge Cargill matches the company’s breadth

With the promotion of Laura Witte to General Counsel at $108 billion Cargill, more has come out about that huge conglomerate and its legal group. According to Corp. Counsel, July 2011 at 38, the company has 131,000 workers spread across 66 countries. Of the 200 lawyers in-house, 120 of them are located in 30 different countries outside the United States.

To have 6 out of 10 lawyers internationally based places Cargill at the high end of that particular benchmark. Witte puts it well: “Our legal team footprint really matches the footprint of the businesses and the company.”

With 655 workers per lawyer, the ratio for Cargill has dropped significantly since 2008. Finally, at 1.8 lawyers in-house per billion dollars of revenue, Cargill – quintessentially a commodities and business-to-business enterprise – not surprisingly ranks very low on legal staff as a percentage of revenue.

Other insights about Cargill’s legal function have appeared on this blog (See my post of March 18, 2005: legal needs-assessment program; Sept. 17, 2005: $25,000 minimum involved for contract review by law department; Sept. 17, 2005: Cargill policy on minor litigation; Sept. 17, 2005: client satisfaction survey asks about value added by law department; June 6, 2006: fingerprint identification; Dec. 7, 2008 #3: 160,000 employees, operates in more than 65 countries with 192 lawyers, and another 173 personnel in 25 countries; and Jan. 21, 2011: spinoff of Mosaic.).

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