Smooth Sailing for Am Law Global 100
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counting money

Summary: The American Lawyer reports revenue growth for the Global 100.

The American Lawyer has released the latest numbers for the Global 100, which examines revenues from the highest-grossing 100 law firms around the globe. The news is generally good–especially for equity partners at the world’s largest law firms.


A carefully-chosen piece of art graces the top of Am Law’s spread. In the image, a commercial airliner leaves stormy weather for clear skies:

AML plane

According to reporter Chris Johnson, “The Global 100 appears to have found its groove. After the turbulence of the financial crisis…the group has now settled into a pattern of slow, steady growth.”

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After hovering around 4 percent the past five years, revenue for the Global 1000 rose to 4.5 percent this time around. According to The American Lawyer, this totals $92.7 billion–a sum just under the domestic product of Ecuador.

While many partners are wistful for the double-digit gains achieved by firms before the financial collapse, Am Law calls 4.5% “steady growth.” Latham & Watkins enjoyed especially large increases on the revenue side, pushing the two previously-highest-ranking firms (DLA Piper and Baker & McKenzie) into second and third place and stepping into the top slot with a reported $2,612,000,000 of revenue.

Partners across the Global 100 had something else to celebrate as revenue per lawyer (RPL) reached an all-time high. Per Am Law, the total number of Global 100 attorneys dropped 0.8 percent. This resulted in “an impressive growth” in revenue per lawyer across the Global 100, driving the RPL from $785,000 (where it has lingered the past three years) to a record $830,000 this year.

According to the publication, RPL is the metric “long regarded as the most reliable measure of a firm’s financial health….” The number is calculated by dividing a firm’s gross revenue by the number of lawyers. It was the highest revenue per lawyer since The American Lawyer began compiling global financials in 1998.

While associates were busy billing more hours, partners were raking in the profits. Am Law reports that profits per partner averaged $1.7 million in the Global 100. That’s 5.5% higher than the previous year. Here are the partners who pulled in the most moolah:

Most Profits Per Equity Partner

  1. Wachtell Lipton: $5,500,000
  2. Quinn Emanuel: $4,925,000
  3. Paul Weiss: $3,845,000
  4. Sullivan & Cromwell: $3,680,000
  5. Kirkland & Ellis: $3,510,000
  6. Simpson Thacher & Bartlett: $3,485,000
  7. Cravath Swaine & Moore: $3,365,000
  8. Davis Polk & Wardwell: $3,295,000
  9. Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton: $3,230,000
  10. Gibson Dunn & Crutcher: $3,045,000

At the current growth rates, Am Law predicts Global 100 revenues will top $100 billion in the next two years. Will this rosy outlook cause firms to take off their seatbelts and move about the cabin? Or will they continue to keep headcounts the same and push associates to bill more?


Source: The American Lawyer

Additional source: The American Bar

Photo credits: (top image), The American Lawyer (bottom image)



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