For those who care about law department benchmarks, there is a gap in the metrics that we ought to have. Data is scarce about the difference it makes in law department staffing and spending if a company is not publicly traded or if it is a US subsidiary of a foreign corporation. In either situation, there is little need for the legal department to have in-house securities lawyers or corporate governance lawyers – nor the legal spending on outside counsel related to those areas.
Amidst all the commotion about Sarbanes-Oxley, for example, who has calculated the internal and external legal cost differences that law makes for public and private companies (See my post of Nov. 24, 2005 #2 about DuPont not adding staff.)? One would expect fewer lawyers per billion dollars of revenue and lower total legal spending if those two drivers of legal cost are missing. The trouble is, the data to prove or disprove those hypotheses are also missing.