Top 100 US firms streak ahead; second 100 post modest gains

June 1, 2011 The top 100 US firms by revenue seem to have recovered after a disastrous 2009, posting strong results in 2010: a 4 per cent increase in gross revenue, a 4.4 per cent rise in revenue per lawyer, and an 8.4 per cent jump in profits per partner.

But the American Lawyer’s annual listing of the highest-grossing firms reveals a split between the top 100 firms and the second 100 firms. The latter group saw total gross revenue rise 2.2 per cent, while average revenue per lawyer increased 1.5 per cent, and average profits per partner rose 3.4 percent.

The top 100 firms built many of their gains on cost-cutting, reducing the average head count by 2.7 per cent, while the number of equity partners fell by 0.9 per cent, and the number of nonequity partners dropped by 1.7 percent. And it appears many of these lawyers ended up at firms in the second 100, in which average headcount increased at every level.

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