How does your legal department’s headcount compare to others?
New research from CLOC breaks down all things headcount in-house, including the growing influence of legal operations professionals within corporate legal teams.
The second annual 2019 State of the Industry survey, released last week by the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium (CLOC), encompassed responses from over 200 companies of different sizes representing over 30 industries and 18 counties.
The survey found that the average small company (i.e. less than US$1 billion) has 19 full-time employees, the average midsize company (between US$1 billion and US$9.9 billion) has 51 FTE employees and the average large company (more than US$10 billion) has 306.
Looking specifically at legal employees – including attorneys, paralegals, legal ops professionals, administrators and other legal staff – the average attorney headcount for businesses is 10 (small company), 28 (midsize) and 164 (large).
Legal operations staff, on the other hand, account for two FTEs in both small and midsize companies and 14 FTEs in large companies.
The survey numbers showed that legal ops professionals are accounting for a larger portion of their departments as the function grows in scope and new roles are added, CLOC noted.
“Of the companies that participated, 40 per cent reported an increase in full-time attorney headcount in 2018 and 37 per cent reported an increase in dedicated legal operations FTEs,” it said.
“The size of legal ops functions has continued to increase through a combination of FTEs and contractors as teams demonstrate more impact.”
Insurance companies have the largest legal spend, CLOC noted, and thus boasted the highest average number of full-time legal ops employees, with 24.
The next highest industry was financial services companies, who have an average of 13 full-time legal ops staff.
The ratio of legal practitioners to legal ops staff varied depending on the size of the business as well. For small companies, there was a 6:1 ratio of attorneys to legal ops, a 13:1 ratio for midsize companies and a 12:1 ratio for large companies.