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Legal Industry Rebounding Due to International Mergers View Count: 49

The 350 largest law firms in the country shows the biggest growth during 2013 since the recession years, according to The National Law Journal. These firms saw a 3.9 percent increase in 2013.

In 2013, Fulbright & Jaworski finished its merger with Norton Rose, based in London. The merger created Norton Rose Fulbright, which ranks three on this year’s list. Salans merged with SNR Denton and Fraser Milner Casgrain to form Dentons, which ranks at number four.

K&L Gates joined hands with Middletons as well. When you remove the international mergers from the equation, the top 350 law firms in the country saw just an 0.8 percent increase in year-over-year numbers.

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The 3.9 percent gain in 2013 was much better than the 1.1 percent growth in 2012 and the 5.3 percent drop in 2008. The last time law firms in the country saw such a large upswing was in 2007, just before the economy went into its recession.

Baker & McKenzie is back at the top of the list with 4,087 lawyers. It beat out DLA Piper, who has 3,962 lawyers. The firm at the bottom of the list is that of Farella Braun & Martel with 115 lawyers.

David Wilkins, a Harvard Law School professor, said that bigger law firms are focused on the international market.

“It is so clear that all the growth is going to come from outside the U.S.,” said Wilkins. “Everyone is trying to figure out what their strategy is. The imperative is so great to figure out what your global strategy is going to be — where you’re going to be when the U.S. market is going to be a smaller and smaller part of the market.”

According to the International Monetary Fund, the economy in China will surpass the economy in the United States by $200 billion by 2016.

Peter Kalis, the chairman of K&L Gates, said, “With the emergence of an energy-independent North America, future expansion into Canada and Mexico could well be desirable.”

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