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Revenues Rose at Top 100 Law Firms in 2013

The elite law firms in the country saw profits per partner rise by 5.5 percent in 2013 and per-lawyer revenue increased by 4.1 percent, according to a report in the New York Times.

The New York Times cited the latest issue of The American Lawyer. The top 100 firms raked in some $77.4 billion in 2013, which is an increase of 5.4 percent from 2012.

These gains occurred despite the cost-cutting by clients and drawbacks on other expenses. The increase in pay might be due to a stop on hiring at some firms.

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“It’s a fair leap to conclude that if fewer firms had reduced their equity partner ranks, even more firms would have suffered profits-per-partner drops,” Aric Press, editor in chief of ALM, which publishes The American Lawyer. “Cutting partners tends not to be a growth strategy, except on paper.”

For the most part, the richest law firms operate in New York. Their main clients are financial institutions and banks. These firms employ 18 percent of the lawyer workforce of 92,000 lawyers and earn 26 percent of the total legal fees.

The annual publication from The American Lawyer found that three-quarters of the 100 law firms expanded at a slower growth rate. The average profit per partner increased by just 0.2 percent, t0 $1.47 million.

When it comes to gross revenue, the five largest firms did not change from 2012 to 2013. DLA Piper saw its total increase by 1.7 percent, to $2.5 billion.

Baker & McKenzie saw its gross revenue increase by 4.6 percent, to $2.4 billion.

Latham & Watkins was up 2.7 percent, to $2.3 billion.

Skadden Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom increased by 1.1 percent, to $2.3 billion.

Kirkland & Ellis increased 4.1 percent, to $2.1 billion.

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