Corporate Legal Times reports on the 200 largest legal departments.  At the end of the report is a breakdown by industry of the number of attorneys in a company per billion dollars in revenue.  For example, in the Aerospace and Defense category, the listed companies average 4 lawyers per billion dollars in revenue.  Here are some others:

          Commercial Banks                   6 lawyers

           Forest and Paper Products     4

           Pharmaceuticals                       6

            Tobacco                                 3

             Industrial Manufacturing         3

             Automobile                          1

One lawyer per billion dollars!  Far and away the most extraordinary ratio in the group.   What is going on with the auto industry? 


Interesting post on The Wired GC about how CEOs look at their GCs.  One part of the post reminded me of a truism for corporate litigators:  There are virtually no businesses that are engaged in the business of litigation.  The CEO valued the GC who could help the business look at problems creatively and resolve them without litigation.  But an often-overlooked challenge is helping the CEO (and for outside counsel, the GC) fully appreciate the distraction a lawsuit will cause for the business.  In other words, the best litigator for a corporation might be the person who advises against litigation.

The other important lesson from the post is the importance of taking the amount of time needed from these executives and not a second more.  We all tend to think the problem we are working on is “the critical one” when the CEO or the GC have many other problems of equal or even greater importance.  Those problems demand time.  Good service is being fully prepared when you call your client, knowing exactly what you need and getting to it directly.  It also means not calling the GC when you can call her assistant or another lawyer lower down the pecking order for the information.  Remember the maxim of the highest and best use of an individual’s time.