The 2013 Global 100: A Wild Ride
A five-year analysis shows that U.K. firms were much harder hit by the recession than their U.S. and Australian counterparts.
For the first time in our global rankings, DLA Piper took the top spot as the world's highest-grossing firm, displacing Baker & McKenzie. DLA's gross revenue grew by 8.6 percent in 2012, reaching $2.44 billion, surpassing Baker, which saw its top line grow by 4.6 percent, to $2.42 billion. As DLA Piper's numbers show, there are growth opportunities in the world's legal market. But for the most part, firms remain unsure of just how sustainable the tentative signs of a recovery are, and they continue to be exposed to sluggish markets.
By Richard Lloyd
Of the 10 highest-grossing firms in this year's Global 100, four are British—Clifford Chance, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Linklaters, and Allen & Overy—but in the five years since the collapse of Lehman Brothers, all have lost ground to their U.S. rivals.
Gross revenue for the world's 100 largest law firms grew by just over $3 billion last year, hitting $85 billion.
MOST PROFITS PER PARTNER
Profits per partner among Global 100 firms averaged slightly over $1.5 million in 2012.
The firms of The Global 100 added almost 4,000 lawyers to their ranks in 2012.
MOST REVENUE PER LAWYER
Revenue per lawyer among the highest-grossing Global 100 firms remained flat in 2012.
Nearly a quarter of the firm's on this year's Global 100 are headquartered outside the U.S.
THE FIVE-YEAR VIEW
The recession that followed the collapse of Lehman Brothers five years ago hit the Global 100 hard, but its effects were uneven. Our five-year revenue-per-lawyer analysis of the 87 firms that were on the Global 100's "Most Revenue" lists for both 2007 and 2012 shows that British firms and vereins took the biggest beating, while Australian firms fared best.
How we produce The Global 100 survey.