A closer look at the nation’s top-200 grossing law firms as compiled by The American Lawyer shows the Second Hundred top-grossing law firms stumbled in two areas in 2009 as compared to the AM Law 100.
Average profits per partner for the Second Hundred fell by 0.3 percent to $646,926 in ’09, while the AM Law 100 saw its profits per partner increase by 0.3 percent. Additionally, the Second Hundred’s revenue per lawyer dropped 2 percent, to $575,855, which was a slightly worse showing than The AM Law 100’s 1.9 percent dip.
Aric Press, editor-in-chief of The American Lawyer, commented on the findings in a press release.
“The bottom line: last year there was nowhere to hide,” said editor in chief Aric Press. “On average, Second Hundred firms, as a group, were just as vulnerable to the economic downturn as Am Law 100 firms were.”
The Second Hundred had a smaller drop in gross revenue than the AM Law 100 in ‘09. The former saw its revenue decrease by 1 percent to $17.1 billion from $17.3 billion and the AM Law 100 had a 3.4 percent drop in gross revenue.
Profit margins for the two groups were nearly identical in 2009. The AM Law 100’s came in at 37 percent and the Second Hundred registered a 36 percent profit margin.
One of the areas with the biggest difference came in head count. Total headcount fell by 1 percent at the Second Hundred and fell by 1 percent at the AM Law 100. Profits per equity partner grew by 1.9 percent in the Second Hundred, while the AM Law 100 registered a 0.7 percent decrease.
The complete breakdown can be found in this month’s issue of The American Lawyer.