NEW YORK, April 28, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The nation's 100 top-grossing law firms enjoyed 5.4 percent gross revenue growth to $77.4 billion in 2013, but average profits per partner (PPP) rose just 0.2 percent to $1,470,022 and revenue per lawyer (RPL) actually fell 0.4 percent to $840,963, according to the annual Am Law 100 report published in the May issue of ALM's The American Lawyer and at www.americanlawyer.com.
Behind these averages, however, The American Lawyer's analysis found a group of 20 firms, dubbed the "Super Rich," that significantly outperformed the rest in PPP, RPL, average value per lawyer and other metrics. Another group, the six very large international firms organized as vereins, are dropping significantly behind the pack on these key metrics.
"Simply put, the Super Rich firms—the 20 with PPP of at least $2 million and RPL of at least $1 million—outperformed the financial averages by four or five percentage points while holding head count growth to a mere 1 percent," wrote ALM editor-in-chief Aric Press. "Average partner profits hovered at $3 million; average RPL at $1.2 million. These firms house 18 percent of the lawyers in The Am Law 100 and earn 26 percent of the fees." Meanwhile the verein giants saw average RPL fall last year by 4.7 percent and PPP by a whopping 8.2 percent. These outlier groups aside, the 74 remaining Am Law 100 firms averaged modest gains of 1.0 percent in RPL and 1.2 percent in PPP.
The five largest firms in gross revenues repeated the order of 2012, led by DLA Piper, up 1.7 percent in 2013 to $2.481 billion; Baker & McKenzie, up 4.6 percent to $2.419 billion; Latham & Watkins, up 2.7 percent to $2.285 billion; Skadden, up 1.1 percent to $2.235 billion; and Kirkland & Ellis, up 4.1 percent to $2.016 billion. The newly configured Norton Rose Fulbright took over sixth place from Jones Day, which once again is followed by Hogan Lovells, Sidley Austin and White & Case. Moving into the Am Law 100 from the Second Hundred firms were Polsinelli, for the first time; Barnes & Thornburg, following a one-year absence; and Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo after two years off the list.
In terms of PPP, New York firms Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson and Davis Polk & Wardwell posted the year's biggest Increases of 24.3 percent and 22.5 percent, respectively. The greatest RPL gains were posted by Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan (18 percent), Simpson Thacher & Bartlett (14.9 percent), Shearman & Sterling (13.4 percent), and Vinson & Elkins (10.9 percent). The biggest decliners were O'Melveny & Myers (8.6 percent) and Jenner & Block (7.8 percent).
The American Lawyer's May issue also includes data on the growth of nonequity partners in 2013 and analysis of what this trend means for client and partner relationships.
About The Am Law 100
The American Lawyer's Am Law 100 has been recognized as the definitive public ranking of financial performance for the nation's largest law firms since its introduction in 1987. Am Law 100/200 metrics are primary benchmarks for law firms seeking to assess their competitive position in the marketplace. Am Law 100 spreadsheet data is available for online purchase at www.almlegalintel.com. In June, The American Lawyer will publish its rankings of the second hundred largest firms.
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