Press Release

ALM’s The American Lawyer Releases 2015 Global 100

List reveals Big Law has settled into a pattern of slow, steady growth following financial crisis

New York, NY – September 28, 2015 – ALM’s The American Lawyer has released its 2015 Global 100, revealing a new number one in Latham & Watkins and an overall trend of slow, steady growth in Global 100 revenue after the tumult of the financial crisis. The study, which ranks the world’s 100 highest-grossing law firms, is available in the October edition of The American Lawyer and online

“This year’s list shows stabilization among the Global 100 after the turbulence of the recession,” said Kim Kleman, editor-in-chief of The American Lawyer. “It’s been a smooth ride this year, with topline growth remaining around 4 percent, comparable to growth rates for the past five years.”

For the first time, Latham & Watkins is the world’s largest law firm by revenue, overtaking perennial Global 100 leaders Baker & McKenzie and DLA Piper after its gross revenue surged 14 percent, to $2.6 billion. Latham was among eighty-four of the top 100 firms that increased their revenue last year, according to The American Lawyer, which compiled the data with the help of the ALM Legal Intelligence team.

“ALM’s Legal Intelligence team is proud to contribute to this important work – it’s an opportunity to demonstrate the geographic scope of our data and survey resources,” said Erick Burchfield, managing director of research at ALM.   “As globalization of the legal profession continues, we believe the breadth of our international research will become increasingly important.”

Growth, however, was not the result of firms adding more lawyers. In fact the total number of attorneys employed by Global 100 firms saw a rare decrease last year, dipping 0.8 percent to just below 112,000. It was the first drop in overall group head count since 2010 and only the fourth since The American Lawyer began compiling global financials in 1998.  Rather, a combination of a slight reduction in lawyer numbers and rising revenues led to an impressive 5.1 percent growth in revenue per lawyer (RPL) across the Global 100 to $830,000, the highest-ever Global 100 RPL and the highest annual growth rate since the recession. Meanwhile, total profits increased 6.9 percent, to $35.6 billion, another record.

The full list of the 2015 Global 100 can be found here.

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