Chicago Big Law: In a Cold Market, Some Shrinkage is to be Expected
Download PDF
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)

Big law has some some slight shrinkage in head count this last year, with Chicago’s 25 biggest firms contracting by 2.5 percent in the year ending June 30. Such firms are doing what most businesses have done through this recession: hire less, expect more of those you retain.

As David Mendelssohn, managing partner of DLA Piper’s Chicago office, and as reported by Chicagobusiness.com, said that headcount was les relevant than attorney output. In other words, they may hire less attorneys, but they expect more out of them.


“I think we have had considerable success on all fronts,” he said. “We’ve definitely seen a downsizing in recruiting younger lawyers out of law school, and I think the trend pervades the industry.”

As we know well by now, it’s a tough market for fresh JD’s. The industries are gleaning talent from data and analysis, and as legal recruiter Kay Hoppe, president of Credientia Inc. in Chicago said, “true talent is being identified – and paid for. At the ends of the day, profitability will be strengthened by it.”

In other words, if their system doesn’t discover you to be “true talent,” you are SOL.

Get JD Journal in Your Mail

Subscribe to our FREE daily news alerts and get the latest updates on the most happening events in the legal, business, and celebrity world. You also get your daily dose of humor and entertainment!!

Meanwhile, Chicago’s biggest law offices continue to decline, with the number one office, Kirkland and Ellis, and number six Jenner and Block, reporting slightly smaller numbers. Kirkland makes the most of it, though, garnishing twice the revenue per lawyer than Mayer Brown, and all the others.



Plaintiff Employment and Civil Rights Law Firm Seeks Hardworking, Committed Associate for the Path t

USA-NJ-Mount Laurel

Qualified candidates must have a minimum of 2-3 years’ experience specific...

Apply now

Employment Law Associate Attorney


Vanderpool, Frostick & Nishanian, PC, a well-established, award winning, and growing AV-rated firm w...

Apply now

Associate Attorney


Fast growing, Plaintiff law firm seeks senior litigation associate attorney with at least 5...

Apply now



The Law Offices of Laurie Peters is seeking a Family Law Attorney.  The appropriate candidat...

Apply now




Search Now

Civil Litigation Attorney


Fresno office of a BCG Attorney Search Top Ranked Law Firm seeks civil litigation attorney with 5+ y...

Apply Now

Mid-level Executive Compensation Associate Attorney

USA-CA-Redwood City

Redwood City office of a BCG Attorney Search Top Ranked Law Firm seeks mid-level executive compensat...

Apply Now

Intellectual Property Litigation Associate


Austin office of a BCG Attorney Search Top Ranked Law Firm seeks intellectual property litigation as...

Apply Now

Most Popular


To Top