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Merger-Fueled Influx of Foreign Lawyers Drives 3.9% Jump in NLJ 350 Firms' Lawyer Count, National Law Journal Finds

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NEW YORK, June 9, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The number of lawyers at the nation's 350 largest law firms jumped 3.9 percent in 2013, more than in any year since the recession, but the increase was due to mergers with foreign law firms rather than domestic hiring, according to ALM's The National Law Journal, which published its annual NLJ 350 survey report in today's issue and online at www.nationallawjournal.com.

Total lawyer counts would have been up only 0.8 percent last year without the effect of international mergers such as Fulbright & Jaworski's with Norton Rose, SNR Denton with Salans and Fraser Milner Casgrain, and K&L Gates with Middletons.

Baker & McKenzie tops the new NLJ 350 with 4,087 lawyers, followed by DLA Piper with 3,962. The other firms in the top five were Norton Rose Fulbright with 3,537 lawyers; Dentons, with 2,503 lawyers; and Jones Day, with 2,464 lawyers. Capturing the No. 350 spot on the list was San Francisco's Farella Braun + Martel, with 115 lawyers.

Whether through mergers, alliances or new offices, The National Law Journal finds non-U.S. growth at the center of many larger firms' expansion strategies. Having established themselves in Europe and China, many now look to Africa, where Baker & McKenzie, Hogan Lovells, Norton Rose Fulbright and Dentons have all launched or expanded practices in the last two years. Latin America, South Korea and Singapore are also attracting more attention.

Within the U.S., growth in lawyer counts can be found mainly in Silicon Valley, oil-rich Colorado, and western Pennsylvania, center of the Marcellus shale gas industry. Headcount in Texas leveled off in 2013 after notable gains in 2012. The National Law Journal's NLJ 350 Regional Report, to be published June 16, will detail these trends.

NLJ 350 spreadsheet data is available for online purchase at almlegalintel.com/Surveys/nlj350.

About The NLJ 350

The NLJ 350 rankings are based on the average number of full-time equivalent attorneys for the period Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2012. Lawyer counts do not include contract or temporary attorneys. A firm must have more lawyers based in the United States than in any other single country to be included on the list.

About ALM

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Source: ALM