Previous posts have noted that among law department benchmarks, total legal spending – inside plus outside counsel costs – is the first among equals (See my post of Sept. 4, 2005 on this gold-standard metric.). Ben Heineman, GE’s former general counsel, proudly notes that “In the past decade, GE generally has been at the bottom in the second-lowest quartile of large companies surveyed annually by … Hildebrandt International” on what he describes as this “key cost metric.”
He then adds, in Corp. Counsel, Vol. 13, April 2006 at 88, that for General Electric the figure is “about one-third of 1 percent.” With the revenue of GE running at close to $150 billion, the legal spend would be in the vicinity of $500 million.
Now, tell me: isn’t management of those people, about 1,100 lawyers, and that amount important?