NEW YORK–LAWFUEL – Legal Jobs, Law News – 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 almost 6 percent in 2007, a significantly larger increase than last year’s 4 percent gain. The newspaper’s 30th annual survey also identified a new leader, as DLA Piper knocked long-reigning Baker & McKenzie out of the top ranking. The survey reveals that a total of 128,213 attorneys worked at the top 250 firms this year, compared with last year¹s attorney census of 121,423. 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.
Associate growth at the NLJ 250 law firms this year outpaced last year’s tallies and surpassed the growth of partners as well. The number of associates rose by 5.3 percent, compared with 4.8 percent associate growth in 2006. The total number of partners climbed by 4.6 percent in 2007, compared to 5.1 percent in last year’s survey.
A relative newcomer to upper tier of the list, DLA Piper made its debut into the top 25 just five years ago but climbed the rankings rapidly to hold the No. 2 spot in 2005 and 2006. This year, it surpassed Baker & McKenzie, which had held the No. 1 position since The National Law Journal¹s first ranking of the nation¹s largest law firms.
“The change to the No. 1 position shows the profound impact that law firm consolidation and lateral moves from attorneys still have on the legal industry,” said Rex Bossert, editor in chief of The National Law Journal. “And the healthy leap in the overall number of lawyers in the top 250 firms indicates that the industry has been fairly robust during a period of economic uncertainty.”
Mergers continued to be a major factor in driving individual firm gains on the rankings. Major mergers this year included those that created Dewey & LeBoeuf, Day Pitney and Thelen Reid Brown Raysman & Steiner.
The results were based on attorney census information between Oct. 1, 2006, and September 30, 2007, which was provided by the nation¹s 300 largest law firms. This year, the cutoff point for law firms to make the NLJ 250 was 172 attorneys.
The complete downloadable NLJ 250 database is available for purchase online at www.almresearchonline.com or by contacting Charles Lowry of ALM Research at 212-592-4932 (e-mail: email@example.com).
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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