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U.S. Companies Outspend Everyone on Legal

By William Vogeler, Esq. on June 05, 2017 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

It's a scene from a zombie apocalypse movie, but with thousands of undead attorneys walking the streets, arms out-stretched, grabbing at anyone in their way.

It's not that hard to image in the United States, which has more lawyers than any other country. And according to a new report, American companies dramatically outspend the rest of the world on legal services.

Talk about a corporate nightmare!

In House Horror

The InHouseBlog reported that American companies are spending "dramatically more on legal services" per every dollar of revenue than their peers around the world. They spend on average 166% more than the average for the rest of the world.

The report is based on a study from Acritas Research, which is a market research company based in the United Kingdom. The study said the biggest legal spenders are real estate, banking and technology companies.

Real estate spends three times more than the global average, followed by banking at 160% and technology at 95% higher than the average around the world, Acritas found.

Lisa Hart Shepherd, chief executive officer, said the bad news could be turned into good news for U.S. companies. "Our findings suggest that there is an opportunity for U.S. organizations to get more value out of their spend and perhaps bring it closer in-line with global averages," she said.

Bigger Is Better

The research says the bigger the company, the better the value to be gained. Companies with less than $500 million in revenue spend twice the legal average, while firms with $6 billion or more spend a third of the average.

"When considering budgets, chief legal counsel should ignore global averages and benchmark themselves against their peers by industry, region and revenues to get a truer picture of whether they're spending in line," Shepherd said.

Although American businesses spend more on lawyers than foreign companies, the national legal spend has decreased recently. According to Bloomberg Law and the Buying Legal Counsel, U.S. corporate clients spent 11% less last year.

They attributed the cost-savings primarily to negotiating hourly rates and "procurement professionals." In the legal spend apocalypse, those would be the anti-zombie forces who keep attorneys from taking over.

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