American Lawyer Survey – Pro Bono growth – Munger, Tolles Tops 2009 List – AM Law ‘A List’

LawFuel.com – US Law Information Service Daily –
NEW YORK (June 30, 2009) – The July issue of The American Lawyer reports that the surprising growth of Am Law 200 pro bono hours since 2004 appears to be continuing, despite the recession. The magazine’s annual survey results, released today, reveal that Am Law 200 firms logged a record 5.57 million pro bono hours in 2008, a 15 percent increase from 2007. At a blended hourly rate of $300, The Am Law 200 provided roughly $1.67 billion in free legal services to those who otherwise could not afford them or to groups and individuals seeking to litigate constitutional claims. Also in this issue, Munger, Tolles & Olson has again topped The American Lawyer’s “A-List” ranking of the most elite firms in the U.S. Drawn from four different ALM rankings, the 20-member A-List looks beyond business results to identify Am Law firms that set the standard for their peers. For these and other stories, visit www.americanlawyer.com.

Average pro bono hours per lawyer for the Am Law 200 rose 14 percent, to 61, and the percentage of lawyers who did more than 20 hours of pro bono work increased to 48 percent, also a new record. The ten firms with the greatest per-capita pro bono commitment each averaged more than 125 hours per lawyer. This group was led by Jenner & Block, which averaged almost 170 pro bono hours per lawyer in 2008, with 91 percent of the firm’s attorneys contributing 20 pro bono hours or more last year.

Editor in chief Aric Press will discuss and evaluate this year’s Am Law pro bono results in a free webinar at 1:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday, July 1. Click here to register for the webinar.

“In the face of the recession, and perhaps because of it, the Am Law 200 firms had a record pro bono year in 2008,” said Press. “The next big test is now. Will 2009 with fewer new associates serve as well?”

Munger, Tolles, headquartered in Los Angeles, combined the A-List’s highest diversity score with solid rankings in revenue per lawyer, pro bono work and associate satisfaction, to edge out runner-up Hughes Hubbard & Reed and continue its two-year run at the top of the A-List. This year, two firms made the A-List for the first time: Irell & Manella and Kirkland & Ellis, while the two that reappeared—Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr and Howrey—are veterans of past lists. Four New York firms fell completely off the list (Cravath, Swaine & Moore, Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler, Shearman & Sterling and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett).

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