What percentage of Fortune 500 (or 2000 companies) have a legal operations team?
Hello! Thanks for your question about legal operations teams employed by Fortune 500 companies. The short version is that the majority of these companies employ a legal operations manager, most with an additional team. While I was unable to find specific figures, I was able to find some baseline figures and marked growth in hiring practices. Below you will find a deep dive of my findings.
The only figures specific to Fortune 500 companies I was able to find were from the Association of Corporate Counsel. When they first formed their Legal Operations division in 2015, the group found that two out of three Fortune 500 companies employed "at least one ops professional". Amar Sarwal, vice president and chief legal strategist for ACC, says “Now (2016), it’s likely closer to 100 percent. It’s clearly a growth market in the legal industry.”
The only other mention specific to Fortune 500 companies was in a live conversation from CLOC, Corporate Legal Operations Consortium. It just mentions that, "Legal operations is a position inside the majority of Fortune 500 companies."
While not focusing on Fortune 500 companies specifically, ACC's annual survey of Chief Legal Officers does demonstrate the rapid growth of legal operations managers and teams in the corporate landscape. The percentage of CLOs who had legal operations staff "more than doubled, to 48%," from 2015 to 2016.
In the 2016 Legal Department In-Sourcing and Efficiency Report put out by Thomson Reuters, 21% of the 429 attorneys and operation professionals surveyed employ a legal operations manager.
To wrap it up, viewed through the lens of industry trends, it is clear that the majority of Fortune 500 companies do employ a legal operations manager, often with additional staff. Those that don't are likely to shift to the more efficient and cost-effective practice of employing these professionals in the near future.
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