(312) 781-9000
08 Jul

The NLJ 500: Highlights of the Nation’s Largest Law Firms

by: Astor Professional Search

The National Law Journal released its annual NLJ 500 rankings, which analyzes data on the largest law firms by headcount. According to the report, the number of lawyers in the NLJ 500 grew 2.5% in 2018 to 169,477, and the average firm size rose by eight lawyers last year to 339. By comparison, the NLJ 500 grew by 1% in 2017 and by about 2% in 2016. Partnerships expanded by just over 1% last year, driven by non-equity partnership growth of 3.8% in 2018, the report also revealed.

American business man leading a group at the office

National Law Journal Rankings and the Largest Law Firms

According to the report, three firms in the top ten saw upward movement, including Latham & WatkinsKirkland & Ellis, and Morgan Lewis. New York, Washington D.C., Chicago, Los Angeles and Boston were the top cities with the most lawyers in this year’s listing. Additionally, one group that showed unexpected growth in the 2019 National Law Journal rankings was the category of “other” lawyers, which encompasses counsel, senior attorneys, of counsel and staff attorneys. This cohort showed a net gain of 1,171 lawyers—up 6.4% in 2018. That’s compared to a net gain of 99 lawyers, or just 0.5%, in 2017.

“The 2019 NLJ 500 tells the story of more growth in 2018 than we saw in the previous two years,” said Lisa Helem, Editor-in-Chief, The National Law Journal. “Overall, the 2019 NLJ 500 findings, especially at the top of the list, along with profit increases for much of the Am Law 200, reflect an industry enjoying rising demand and faster growth. The average head count increase—still in the low single digits—is a far cry from the 4% or 5% growth firms saw in the pre-recession period from 2005 to 2008. But given the ugly contraction that followed, there’s something to be said for this year’s more modest gains,” (as quoted in The National Law Journal).

See more highlights from NLJ 500 rankings on The National Law Journal.

Legal Recruiter Bill Sugarman

Contact Bill Sugarman, a legal recruiter, for more information.

author-bio-image author-bio-image
William Sugarman

William Sugarman is the president and founder of Astor Professional Search. He engages in the successful placement of attorneys with local, regional, and international law firms and corporations. Bill’s extensive legal and business development experience give Astor an edge over other legal recruiters nationwide. At the cornerstone of Bill’s strategic philosophy is providing the highest level of personalized attention to his clients and attorney candidates. This is also a key factor that separates Astor from other legal search firms, and it consistently delivers legal placements year after year.

Years of Experience: More than 20 years

Share it here
Related Posts
26 Aug Highlights from the NLJ Top 100 Firms for Women
Highlights from the NLJ Top 100 Firms for Women

The gap in gender parity in the legal industry remains somewhat stagnant, but there are Big Law firms that have adopted new cultures...

19 Jul Female Lawyers Are Moving Up Faster in #MeToo Era, Report Finds
Female Lawyers Are Moving Up Faster in #MeToo E...

The American Lawyer reports that recent data released by ALM Intelligence shows female attorneys have ascended into Big Law’s ...

08 May How a Select Group of Law Firms Pivoted and Profited After the Recession
How a Select Group of Law Firms Pivoted and Pro...

In a recent article, The American Lawyer takes a deep dive look at the strategies and practices of a small group of firms that ...