Without reflection and empirical support, many advocate law department lawyers delegating work to paralegals. Intuitively, it makes sense that tasks, especially those that are more routine, be performed by the lowest cost capable person take. How, testing is required to determine whether the results of such delegation, as measured by total legal spending per unit of revenue, bear out this seemingly commonsense recommendation.
To find out, I looked at data from the 2010 General Counsel Metrics benchmark survey. First, I took two important metrics--paralegals per billion dollars of revenue together with total legal spending per billion of revenue--and looked to see whether they moved in a pattern with each other. The correlation was only 0.052 with a p value of 0.163, meaning there is only a very small statistical relationship between paralegal support (normalized) and total legal spending (also normalized). The positive correlation even suggests that having relatively more paralegals is associated slightly with spending a little bit more on total legal costs.