Supplemental demographic data

On law-firm research questionnaires, four demographic questions account for most of that type of question: the rank of the individual filling out the questionnaire, the revenue of that person’s organization, its industry, and (with less frequency) the country of the organization. Those are the Big Four profile facts.

Nevertheless, not infrequently law firms ask from their respondents for supplemental facts that go beyond the Big Four. We collected instances of eight of those supplemental demographics. In no particular order the diagram briefly states them. The text that follows notes the extent to which the firm played back the findings in any analysis.

Type of organization: Davies Ward in 2010 breaks down its respondents by “publicly traded company,” “private company”, “government department or agency,” “not-for-profit sector or another type of organization,” and “wholly owned subsidiary of a public company” [pg. 8]. The report makes extensive and commendable use of this demographic data; it shows for each type of organization comparable, in-depth analyses. This usage represents the best way to collect and report on demographic data.

Listed on a stock exchange: Hogan Lovells in 2014 asked, “Is your company listed on at least one stock exchange?” [pg. 74]. All the report did with the yes and no checks was to state “81% of [respondent] companies are stock market listed” [pg. 6].

Market capitalization: Littler Mendelson in 2017 collected this from their respondents, using three categories: Large cap, greater than \$4 billion, Mid cap,\$1 billion to \$4 billion, and Small cap, less than \$1 billion [pg. 24]. Nothing is heard about that data in the firm’s report.

Commercial geography: Eversheds in 2008 reported that respondents were from “domestic, international (at least two countries) and global (at least two continents) law firms” [pg. 2]. The report makes modest use of that demographic data. For example, “The least satisfied lawyers were at US and Canadian law firms, or working for domestic rather than international law firms.” [pg. 4]. From a different view, Fulbright Jaworski in 2009 asked respondents to select one of seven categories for the number of countries where their company has facilities [pg. 6]. No use is made of the data except a table and bullet points below that emphasize three conclusions from it.

Longevity: Norton Rose in 2014 reports the ages of the respondent companies in five ranges [pg. 5] and their number of employees in six ranges [pg. 5]. The research concerned employee stock option plans, so both demographic facts relate directly to the study.

Employees: Baker McKenzie in 2016 collected data on the number of employees of its respondents, offering six categories to select from [pg. 7]. But the report does not analyze any findings by this measure.

From this small sample, one can see that law firms consider and collect data about their respondents that go beyond the customary Big Four. Disappointing, therefore, that they make such little use in their analyses of that supplemental information.

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