NEW YORK, Sept. 29, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- ALM's The American Lawyer reported today that the world's 100 largest law firms continued their post-recession recovery last year, with aggregate revenue growing 4.3 percent to $88.7 billion and average profit per equity partner up 5.4 percent to $1.6 million, although average revenue per lawyer only gained 0.4 percent to $787,000. The group employed over 112,000 lawyers, a 3.9 percent increase, and 22,000 equity partners, 3.4 percent above the prior year, according to the annual Global 100 survey published in the October issue and online at www.americanlawyer.com.
Baker & McKenzie regained the top spot from DLA Piper with $2.54 billion revenue, a 5 percent jump from last year. DLA was up 1.7 percent to $2.48 billion. The two firms have jockeyed for Global 100 leadership for several years.
Major mergers continued to fuel consolidation, with 30 megafirms now showing revenues of over $1 billion compared to 16 in 2009. Norton Rose broke into the top 10 for the first time, thanks to its combination with Fulbright & Jaworski to create Norton Rose Fulbright. SNR Denton moved into the top 20 following a three-way tie-up with French firm Salans and Canada's Fraser Milner Casgrain to form Dentons. Sino-Australian firm King & Wood Mallesons entered the top 30 after combining with SJ Berwin. London-based Ashurst rose 36 places in the rankings due to its merger with Australian firm Blake Dawson.
Excluding merged firms, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett was the fastest-growing Global 100 firm with a 15 percent revenue leap fueled by the resurgence in M&A work. Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, which opened four non-U.S. offices last year, was close behind at 14.1 percent growth. On the other hand, firms with large restructuring and bankruptcy practices suffered, including Bingham McCutchen, whose revenue dropped 12.6 percent, and Weil Gotshal & Manges, down 7.4 percent.
Breaking into the Global 100 for the first time were Hughes Hubbard & Reed; Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy; and Cahill Gordon & Reindel. Returning after a one-year absence were Schulte Roth & Zabel and Berwin Leighton Paisner. Leaving the list, aside from merged firms, were Fish & Richardson, Kaye Scholer, and Jenner & Block.
The American Lawyer also released today its first survey of Global 100 pro bono services performed outside the U.S. American firms dominate the standings, averaging double the hours of non-U.S. firms, where pro bono work traditionally competes with a broader tradition of corporate social responsibility. Three non-U.S. firms that stood out from the pack are Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer with 23 pro bono hours per non-U.S.-based lawyer, London's Simmons & Simmons with 21, and South Korea's Kim & Chang with 20.
Full survey data are available for purchase in searchable, sortable Excel format from ALM Legal Intelligence at www.almlegalintel.com/Surveys/Global100.
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