The past year or so has been full of powerful storms and rough seas for much of Biglaw, but when it comes to the Am Law’s Second Hundred, 2022 was clear skies with smooth sailing.
The American Lawyer recently released its Am Law 200 law firm rankings — a closely watched list of the smaller yet still elite law firms that represent the very best of what the legal profession has to offer. The highlights from the report reveal that in 2022, Biglaw’s Second Hundred had much to celebrate, with overall revenue growth (4.1%) that bested that of the Am Law 100 (2.7%). In fact, the Second Hundred beat out their higher ranked competitors in almost every financial metric that there is, including revenue per lawyer and profits per equity partner.
While some firms came out on top, others completely exceeded expectations. How did the Am Law 200 stack up?
Here’s an overview of how Biglaw’s Second Hundred performed in 2022:
- Gross revenue: $131 billion, up by 4.1%
- Average revenue per lawyer: $$763,541, up by 1.5%
- Average profits per equity partner: $959,108, down by 1.2%
How did we get here? Scale, resources, and expense management all matter, especially when there’s an economic downturn. From Am Law:
While in boom times [client experience] may not make much of a difference, but when clients are being more selective of who they are doing business with (and what they are paying) during less productive economic times, it matters.
Marcie Borgal Shunk, founder of The Tilt Institute, says that the Second Hundred firms seemed like they did a better job of managing expenses and hiring than some larger firms did last year, and that also contributed to the smaller firms’ relative success.
“There were minimal losses in profits per partner,” she says of the Second Hundred firms. “They did a good job of protecting their profits. They were measured in their hiring and compensation decisions, more so than the Am Law 100. They were also more thoughtful about associate salary increases, as it wasn’t so much of a blanket mandate for them like it was for the largest firms.”
Now, the moment you’ve been waiting for: the top 10 firms in the gross revenue rankings, and the top five firms for the RPL and PPP rankings.
The top 10 firms by gross revenue appear below, with the Second Hundred led by firms that slipped out of the Am Law 100. The full Am Law 200 gross revenue chart can be found here.
101. Steptoe: $434,601,000
102. Kramer Levin: $421,443,000
103. Cahill: $415,200,000
104. Baker Donelson: $412,760,000
105. Loeb & Loeb: $411,650,000
106. Jackson Walker: $402,298,000
107. Wilson Elser: $395,500,000
108. Bradley Arant: $392,220,000
109. Manatt: $382,100,000
110: Susman Godfrey: $370,000,000
Revenue Per Lawyer
See the alphabetized Am Law 200 revenue per lawyer chart here.
- Irell: $2,303,000
- Susman Godfrey: $1,947,000
- Munger Tolles: $1,728,000
- Patterson Belknap: $1,472,000
- Manatt: $1,409,000
Profits Per Equity Partner
See the alphabetized Am Law 200 profits per equity partner chart here.
- Cole Scott: $4,314,000
- Cahill: $4,036,000
- Irell: $3,785,000
- Choate Hall: $3,328,000
- Susman Godfrey: $3,236,000
We will undoubtedly have even more to say as we continue to dig into these numbers. But what’s clear is that the Second Hundred know what works — and what doesn’t — and that their luck hasn’t run out yet. Congratulations on all of your success!
Smaller but Mightier: The 2023 Am Law 200 Outperforms Larger Firms [American Lawyer]
The 2023 Am Law 200: Ranked By Gross Revenue [American Lawyer]
The 2023 Am Law 200: At a Glance [American Lawyer]
Staci Zaretsky is a senior editor at Above the Law, where she’s worked since 2011. She’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to email her with any tips, questions, comments, or critiques. You can follow her on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn.