Today’s legal teams operate in an environment of rapid change. Digitalization and globalization are intensifying competitive pressure and gaining new strategic importance. Creating sustainable business models, integrating technological innovation and driving economic efficiency are also at the top of management’s agenda. For the legal function, these challenges create greater pressure to deliver high-quality legal advice and a top-notch customer experience.

The continuously evolving nature of the legal environment presents more challenges. New and revised laws, decrees and regulations and the growing influence of international and supranational (EU) regulations make it more difficult for legal teams to fulfil their professional duties. With cost pressures on the rise, legal departments are also under scrutiny to identify opportunities to produce efficiencies and reduce expenses.

KPMG International’s Global Legal Department Benchmarking Survey, which includes data from companies of all sizes, offers transparent and objective benchmarks that can help leaders of legal departments position their teams for success in the years to come.

Download the full report today and we look forward to discussing the survey results with you.

Key findings at a glance

Stronger central governance

As a result of globalization, the majority of departments (77 percent) have a decentralized structure — 35 percent of them are under disciplinary management by the General Counsel, 22 percent under functional management. The disciplinary lead shows strong growth.

Cost development

The expenditure of the legal departments of the companies surveyed averaged $2,592,421 per $1 billion United States Dollars (US$) in sales. Of this amount, US$1,263,409 was accounted for by internal costs and US$1,329,012 for external service providers.

Women in the legal department

Thirty percent of the general counsels within the companies surveyed are women. Women are also represented in other management-level roles (25 percent) and associate roles (41 percent).


Top priorities for legal professionals in the coming years are information extraction from documents (55 percent), document automation (54 percent) and data analytics (45 percent). Tools for automatic decision-making (10 percent), chatbots (7 percent) or blockchain (2 percent) offer high potential but are still rarely used in legal departments.

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