The American Lawyer Finds Solid “Global 100” Growth Last Year; U.K. Firms Trail U.S., Australia in Recession Recovery
NEW YORK – Oct. 1, 2013 – The world’s 100 largest law firms enjoyed solid 3.8 percent growth in total gross revenues last year to $85 billion, according to ALM’s The American Lawyer, though they fell short of 2011’s 6.8 percent jump.
Average revenue per lawyer (RPL) among the Global 100 was flat at $784,297 in 2012 compared to the prior year’s $784,419.
A five-year RPL analysis accompanying the annual report, published in The American Lawyer‘s October issue and at americanlawyer.com, suggests that large British-based firms have not recovered from the recession as vigorously as their U.S. and Australian competitors. Among the 87 firms which appeared on the Global 100’s highest-revenue lists in both fiscal year 2007 and 2012, those based in Australia averaged compound annual growth rates of 4.5 percent in this key productivity metric, while American firms hit 0.9 percent. Meanwhile, British firms’ RPL CAGR sank at 3.3 percent rate.
Nevertheless, the report notes, “U.K. firms have doubled down on their global ambitions,” aggressively opening new offices and forging mergers and alliances which may bear fruit later.
DLA Piper topped the Global 100 gross revenue chart at $2.44 billion, passing 2011 leader Baker & McKenzie’s $2.42 billion. Latham & Watkins moved up to third place at $2.23 billion, pushing Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom down to fourth with $2.21 billion. Clifford Chance retained fifth place at $2.02 billion.
Among other findings of the report:
- While four of the top 10 firms by gross revenue are British, all have lost ground to U.S. rivals over the past five years.
- The average head count at the 100 firms with the most lawyers was up 5.3 percent to 1,169 last year. Eight Chinese firms made the list.
- Among the best performers in RPL growth over five years, three are U.S. litigation powerhouses: Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, Kirkland & Ellis, and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher.
- Of the 10 worst performers in five-year profits-per-equity-partner growth, only one -- Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson -- is U.S.-based.
Full survey data are available for purchase in searchable, sortable Excel format from ALM Legal Intelligence at almlegalintel.com/Surveys/Global100.
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