NEW YORK- LAWFUEL – Law News, Law Jobs Network –The National Law Journal® reported today that the NLJ 250®, the nation’s 250 largest law firms ranked by headcount, grew their total number of lawyers by 4% in 2006, an increase that was just shy of last year’s gains. The newspaper’s 29th annual survey revealed that 121,423 attorneys worked at those firms this year, some 4,752 more attorneys than last year. The firms expanded their partner ranks by a healthy 5.1%, a slightly higher rate than last year’s. However, the average number of attorneys designated as nonequity partners this year surged by a resounding 16%. Additional survey results and analysis are available in this week’s issue of The National Law Journal and on the Web at www.nlj.com and www.law.com.
In 2005, the top 250 law firms had 116,671 attorneys, which represented a 4.4% increase from 2004, when firms grew by 1.5%. In 2003, firms expanded by 1.6%.
“This year’s NLJ 250 survey reflects a continuation of steady growth in the profession and shows that the largest law firms are getting even larger,” said Rex Bossert, editor in chief of the newspaper.
The survey measures attorney populations at the nation¹s largest firms between Oct. 1, 2005, and Sept. 30, 2006. This year, the cutoff point for law firms to make the NLJ 250 was 172 attorneys. In 2005, the smallest firm on the list had 165 attorneys.
Hiring at the associate level also continued to grow. The total number of associates rose by 4.8% to 61,648 junior attorneys, a slightly higher rate than last year’s 4.6% growth.
Mergers continued to drive some of the biggest individual firm gains on the rankings. More than 50 firm mergers were estimated to have taken place in the first three quarters of 2006. Topping the list of firms that grew the most, for example, was 75th-ranked Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge, which, through its merger, created a firm some 50% larger than Edwards & Angell¹s size last year.
The ten largest firms on the list, led by Baker & McKenzie, remained the same, with some shifts in rankings within the group.
NLJ 250 data is available for sale as an electronic spreadsheet. It can be purchased online at www.almresearchonline.com or by contacting Charles Lowry of ALM Research at 212-592-4932 (e-mail: [email protected])
Founded in 1978, The National Law Journal has the largest paid circulation of any weekly publication serving the legal community. The newspaper is published by ALM.
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