How the Sunshine State is increasingly attracting Big Law Firms . . Who are they and who are the ‘local’ firms getting bigger?
- 1 Cole, Scott & Kisane
- 2 Akerman
- 3 Holland & Knight
- 4 Greenberg Traurig –
- 5 Quintairos Prieto Wood & Boyer
- 6 Shutts & Bowen
- 7 Greenspoon Marder –
- 8 Bilzin Sumberg Baena Price & Axelrod
- 9 Jones Day
- 10 Kirkland & Ellis
- 11 Carlton Fields Jorden Burt –
- 12 Baker McKenzie
- 13 Winston & Strawn
- 14 Morgan Lewis
The law market in Florida is an active one with most of the nation’s largest law firms operating in the Sunshine State. The law firms include home-grown law firms and several, like Holland & Knight, Akerman and Greenberg Traurig who have expanded into major big law firms internationally and are ranked among the world’s largest law firms.
The top firms in Florida include those with corporate practices, real estate transactions, life sciences, alternative dispute resolutions, litigation and every other type of legal work.
The growth of business and financial services in Miami and elsewhere, along with major capital inflows into the state from public and private companies and high net worth families who have relocated to the state, have seen most of the major law firms in the United States operate in the State, often from multiple offices in Tampa, West Palm Beach, Orlando and elsewhere.
The legal market in the state is highly significant and remains a key area of practice for most of the major law firms in the United States, representing both local and international clients.
Additionally, Florida is a fast-growing legal market, providing a range of work ranging from representation of local companies in the region to international companies, including a great deal of work for Latin American clients, financial institutions, tech companies, litigation and alternative dispute resolution, criminal defense, estate planning and other work.
When looking at the Florida law firms in terms of ranking it is important to consider that there are large national and multi-national law firms or international law firms that are operating in Florida, along with those firms that retain their home base and originated in Florida.
There are different parameters for determining the largest law firm – revenue, partner numbers – but generally the criteria will tend to favor both. Mostly, the largest law firms are based in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Washington.
However the Public Legal site shows the following as the largest in Florida –
Holland & Knight, Akerman, Cole Scott Kinane, Quintairos Prieto Wood & Boyer, Carlton Fields Jordon Burt, Gray Robinson, Shutts & Bowen, Greenspoon Marder, Wicker Smith O’Hara McCoy & Ford, Gunster, Kubicki Draper.
The Public Legal website, for instance, shows the law firms outlined below as the leading contenders in Florida, based on 2019 figures.
And while the largest law firm does not necessarily mean they are always the best lawyers, the BCG Law Recruitment site listed the best firms in Florida as including Baker McKenzie, Boies Schiller, Foley & Lardner and others referred to in this report. The number of AmLaw firms that have expanded to Florida to exploit the growth in the state and provide their legal advice using local expertise and global legal power has continued to grow rapidly.
Among the largest law firms are the following:
CSK was named the largest law firm in Florida according to Florida Trend Magazine, while a National Law Journal report in 2022 with 13 offices in the State and 558 attorneys, focused principally on litigation work, including personal injury, criminal and defense work. The NLJ report shows the firm to have revenues of $171 million.
Headquartered in Miami, Akerman has over 700 lawyers across 24 offices in the United States. Named as a ‘Florida powerhouse’ law firm, by Law360 for its “for its dominance in size and client work in the state”. The Florida offices are in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Naples and Orlando.
Headquartered in Tampa, Holland & Knight has over 1700 attorneys across its 35 offices across the world, including Europe, Africa and Latin America. It is one of the heavyweight legal firms in the world and its current firm was founded in 1968 from a merger and provides a full range of legal services, as well as being regarded as a pro bono leader.
In Florida, the firm has offices in Fort Lauderdale, Miami, West Palm Beach and Tampa.
Greenberg Traurig is an American multinational law firm founded in Miami in 1967. As of 2018, the Greenberg Traurig is the 14th largest law firm in the United States. The firm has 42 offices in the United States, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia, and approximately 2400 attorneys worldwide.
In Florida the firm has five offices.
QPWB are a unique firm in several respects, the most significant being that they are the largest minority and woman-owned law firm in the United States. With nine offices in Florida but with 31 offices nationally, the firm has 360 lawyers nationally with many across its multiple Florida offices.
Am Law 200 Florida-based law firm with 270 attorneys in seven offices in the State of Florida. Shutts & Bowen was founded in 1910. Frank B. Shutts came to Miami in 1909 and became the legal representative of Henry M. Flagler and the Florida East Coast Railway Company.
Based in Fort Lauderdale and with offices also in Miami, Boca Raton, Naples, Orlando, Tampa and West Palm Beach, Greenspoon Marder regards itself as one of the best law firms in Florida and is certainly a major Floridian ‘native’. With 225 attorneys across 20 offices nationally, the firm has a strong focus on litigation, real estate and transactional legal work.
This firm may have been set up by New York lawyers, but is a Miami-based firm that handles national and international clients handling corporate law, litigation, real estate and transactional work. With 100 attorneys it retains top rankings and reputation for its work.
Among the largest law firms in Florida are many of the largest law firms in the United States, including the following –
Jones Day is Cleveland-based and has been the fifth largest firm in the United States and the 13th largest in revenue terms. With a Miami office the firm uses its Florida attorneys to also help service the Latin American market
Heavyweight Big Law firm Kirkland & Ellis is Chicago-based and the largest law firm in the world by revenues and in the very top echelon by attorney numbers.
However until very recently the firm did not have a presence for its national and international clients until it opened its first Florida office in Miami in May 2022.
California-based Carlton Fields has a large Miami office with a total of 330 lawyers nationally.
One of the world’s largest law firms, Baker McKenzie has over 4800 attorneys and 77 offices worldwide.
The Chicago-based legal monolith has offices in both Miami and Tampa. As with the other major firms, including the ‘local’ law firms named, Baker McKenzie and others provide full legal services, including litigation, transactions, private equity, health care, financial services and the full range of law work.
Another one of the largest law firms in the country, Winston & Strawn has origins going back to the mid-19th century and with over 900 attorneys in the United States it remains as one of the country’s largest firms with national offices, including a major office in Miami, which it opened in Miami’s financial district in 2022 as part of the firm’s ongoing expansion.
Philadelphia-based Morgan Lewis was one of the first global firms to open its doors in Florida with a Miami office that provides a full range of legal services, including corporate services for national and international clients, litigation, class action and other major legal work.
Working out just which is the biggest law firm in Florida is more vexed than might appear at first sight given the number of Big Law firms that have moved in, but the booming Floridian legal market is certainly not shrinking and ‘big’ continues to grow for both the out-of-state law firms and the local ‘big law’ firms operating in Florida