New report from ACC and ML&A about the legal sector

The Association of Corporate Counsel and Major, Lindsey & Africa have announced the publication of their annual legal industry benchmarking survey. This third report reveals a shift in the distribution of in-house legal spending, driven primarily by smaller firms. In addition, compared to last year, more departments moved work in-house in the areas of due diligence, due diligence, labor & employment, legal research and intellectual property.

“From internal and external legal spend, to staffing breakdowns, to diversity metrics, the ACC/MLA Law Department Management Benchmarking Report provides actionable data across today’s law department,” said Veta T. Richardson, president & CEO of ACC. 

“We are pleased to be able to partner with the ACC again to provide insightful law department metrics that will allow General Counsel, Legal Operations leaders and the C-Suite the ability to measure the fitness of their legal function,” said Gregory Richter, partner and vice president, Retained Search and Advisory Services for MLA. 

The survey also shows that there was a shift in legal spend, with departments spending more internally than externally (54% of legal spend internally) compared to the 2021 survey, which leaned more towards external spend (51% on average spent externally versus 49% internally).

In addition, the survey also shows that departments rely on external providers for other tasks, particularly for discovery, with only 68 per cent doing data collection in-house and less than half (45 per cent) doing data hosting and processing. Furthermore, 44% of departments outsource data collection to external lawyers and 58% outsource data hosting and processing.

In terms of diversity, 29% track internal diversity metrics or have targets for departmental composition, the same as last year. Although the number of those tracking diversity with respect to the composition of their external lawyers is lower (21%), it is three points higher than in 2021.

Number of Legal Staff Based on Number of Lawyers

These findings are based on responses from 427 legal departments in organizations spanning 24 industries, 26 countries and all company sizes.

The executive summary and full survey results are available to everyone: