The American Lawyer Finds "Second Hundred" Largest Firms Hired Aggressively in 2012, Unlike Am Law 100, Despite Similar Gross Revenue Growth

NEW YORK, May 31, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- While the nation's 100 highest-grossing firms (the Am Law 100) added only 0.8 percent to their total lawyer head-count in 2012, the Second Hundred largest firms bulked up 3 percent, according to ALM's The American Lawyer. Even more dramatically, the Second Hundred's total nonequity partner count jumped 10.1 percent and equity partners rose 1.1 percent, compared to the Am Law 100's 2.5 percent gain in nonequity partners and flat equity partner numbers. Yet gross revenue growth at the two groups was nearly identical, totaling 3.2 percent for the Second Hundred firms and 3.4 percent for the Am Law 100.

"Seldom has the strategic divide between the Am Law 100 and the Second Hundred been so stark," wrote reporter Victor Li. "Second Hundred firms are wagering that, as the economy improves, their lower rates will drive work their way, and that their investment in new partners will ultimately pay off."

The dilutive effects of the Second Hundred's hiring binge was clear with their average profits per partner of $696,576 growing only 2.4 percent compared to the Am Law 100's 4.2 percent increase to $1,466,922. Average revenue per lawyer growth at the Second Hundred was a mere 0.2 percent to $611,658, while the Am Law 100 firms averaged 2.6 percent gains to $844,245.

Ice Miller and Holland & Hart showed the largest gross revenue gains of the Second Hundred firms, at 32.5 and 22.1 percent, respectively. Fitzpatrick, Cella, Harper & Scinto had the biggest loss at 8.8 percent. Twelve firms posted double-digit increases while none suffered double-digit drops, according to the annual survey report published in The American Lawyer's June issue and online at www.americanlawyer.com.

About The Am Law 100/200

The American Lawyer's Am Law 100/200 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 200 spreadsheet data is available for online purchase at www.almlegalintel.com/Surveys/AmLaw200.

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Source: ALM