Prestige Leaders: Sizing Up Firms By Revenue

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The legal industry puts a premium on financial success. While money isn't everything, a firm's revenue provides a window into the firm's work, financial resources and business trajectory.

The Law360 Pulse Prestige Leaders is the second part of a larger project looking at how firms in the U.S. measure up. Check out the first part, Social Impact Leaders, here. Come back in January for our ultimate ranking of law firms, the Law360 Pulse Leaderboard.

Our inaugural list of top firms by gross revenue highlights the law firms that are breaking the bank.

While the more than 100 firms have all made a name for themselves in the legal market, the gulf between revenue reported by firms at the top and revenue reported by firms at the bottom of the list is vast: more than $4.5 billion.

Only two firms report gross revenue of over $4 billion: Latham & Watkins LLP and Kirkland & Ellis LLP. Nine high-performing firms report revenue of higher than $2 billion. Thirty-five firms report revenue of higher than $1 billion. Firms toward the bottom of our list are reporting revenue around $100 million.

The ranking is based on firms' reported revenue in 2020, a year marked by the onset of a global pandemic and lingering economic uncertainty. But many law firms found ways to turn that uncertainty to their advantage, quickly pivoting to become trusted advisers to clients who were suddenly facing a wealth of unexpected issues, and reaping the financial benefits.

Flexibility may also prove to be a boon for firms throughout 2021. While the legal industry has largely avoided significant economic harm, the ability to seamlessly carry on with remote work and meet an increased demand in particular practice areas have benefits that are likely to pay off in the long run.

Firms are now working harder than ever to keep their top talent and incorporate lessons learned during the pandemic into their future growth plans.

Law360 Pulse does not estimate a law firm's revenue. If firms do not report their gross revenue they are excluded from the list. Some firms do not report revenue on a 2020 calendar year. In those instances, their revenue follows their fiscal year reporting. Where firms do not report calendar year financials, the ranking indicates that with an asterisk.

Setting the Bar for Revenue
Firms are ranked only according to their reported 2020 gross revenue. Additionally, firms' profits per equity partner and net income are shown if available.

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--Graphics by Ben Jay. Editing by Pamela Wilkinson, John Campbell, Kerry Benn, Gerald Schifman and Jacqueline Bell.

Correction: An earlier version of this story omitted revenue information provided by one firm. The error has been corrected.

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