The Am Law 100

A Guide to Our Methodology

The American Lawyer

HOW WE REPORT FIRM FINANCIALS

The Am Law 100 is reported by ALM publications throughout the United States, including The American Lawyer, The Connecticut Law Tribune, Daily Business Review (Miami), Fulton County Daily Report (Atlanta), The Legal Intelligencer (Philadelphia), The National Law Journal/Legal Times, The New Jersey Law Journal, New York Law Journal, The Recorder (San Francisco) and Texas Lawyer.
Most law firms provide their financials voluntarily for this report. Some choose not to cooperate, so we make estimates based on our reporting. But all data is investigated by our reporters. In the event that an error in reporting a previous year is discovered, we will correct the numbers and base the percentage changes in future years on restated numbers.

DEFINITIONS

GROSS REVENUE is fee income from legal work only. It does not include disbursements or income from nonlegal ancillary businesses.
NET is compensation to equity partners.
EQUITY PARTNERS are those who receive no more than half their compensation on a fixed-income basis.
NONEQUITY PARTNERS are those who receive more than half their compensation on a fixed-income basis.
LAWYER COUNTS are average full-time-equivalent (FTE) figures for the 2013 calendar year. Retired partners and of counsel are not counted as partners, nor are payments made to them counted in net operating income. Temporary and contract attorneys are not included.

HOW WE CRUNCH THE NUMBERS

REVENUE PER LAWYER is calculated by dividing gross revenue by the total number of lawyers, measured on an average FTE basis.
PROFITS PER PARTNER is calculated by dividing net operating income by the number of equity partners.
COMPENSATION–ALL PARTNERS is calculated by adding net operating income to compensation paid to nonequity partners.
AVERAGE COMPENSATION–ALL PARTNERS is the net operating  income plus compensation to nonequity partners, divided by the number of equity and nonequity partners.
VALUE PER LAWYER is calculated by dividing compensation–all partners by the total number of lawyers. We then divide that figure by $10 million to determine how many lawyers it takes to generate that amount.
PROFITABILITY INDEX includes leverage, which is the ratio of all lawyers (minus equity partners) to equity partners, and profit margin, which is the ratio of net operating income to gross revenue multiplied by 100. It can also be obtained by dividing profits per partner by revenue per lawyer.

OUR CONVENTIONS

On the poster and the A to Z chart, full firm names are used. On all other charts we publish shortened firm names.
We round gross revenue and net operating income to the nearest $500,000. Profits per partner, revenue per lawyer, value per lawyer and average compensation–all partners are rounded to the nearest $5,000.
Firms that are tied in the rankings are ­listed in alphabetical order.

HOW WE DESIGNATE LOCATION

Firms are placed in the “international” or “national” categories according to the distribution of their lawyers.  
Vereins are broken out separately because their organizational structure, particularly regarding profit sharing, differs significantly from that of other Am Law 100 firms.
If 40 percent or more of the firm’s lawyers were located outside the United States, we identify the firm as international. If no more than 45 percent of the firm’s attorneys were located in any one region of the country, we identify the firm as national. Otherwise, we determine the firm’s largest market and then the largest city within that market and use that as the location.

DESIGNATION OF REGIONS

We use the following classifications for identifying the geographical concentration of a firm’s offices and attorneys:
• NEW ENGLAND Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont
• NEW YORK CITY
• MID-ATLANTIC Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York (excluding New York City), Northern Virginia and Pennsylvania
• WASHINGTON, D.C.
• SOUTH AND SOUTHEAST Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Southern Virginia, Tennessee and West Virginia
• MIDWEST Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and ­Wisconsin
• WEST AND SOUTHWEST Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah and Wyoming
• WEST COAST/PACIFIC RIM Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington