Law is a big service-based business. finance, taxation, litigation, corporate affairs, conflicts, patents, copyrights, antitrust, property, labor, arbitration, as well as administration, political, and social matters all require law expertise. While there are other criteria to rank law firms – such as revenue per partner or lawyer, the number of lawyers, or year-over-year percent growth – annual revenue remains the most accurate, consistent, and easy to follow.
Here in this article, we’re going to discuss the Top 12 Largest Law Firms in the World. So, let’s talk.
1. Baker McKenzie
Baker McKenzie is the largest law firm in America regarding the number of attorneys employed. It is the 3rd largest in revenue, bringing in $2.9 billion. The firm has 13,000 total employees.
Co-founder Russell Baker opened his own firm in 1925. Later, he partnered with John McKenzie in 1949. Baker had been providing legal services to Chicago’s Mexican-American community. Given his familiarity with Latin culture, a lawyer in Venezuela approached Baker regarding opening a joint firm in that country. Baker’s son opened a Baker & McKenzie office there.
Today, the firm continues its focus on working with multinational corporations. It works with tech companies like Symantec and Microsoft on tax matters.
2. Kirkland & Ellis
What is the largest law firm in the world by revenue? Ranking number one on this list of top 10 largest law firms in the world by revenue in 2020 is Kirkland & Ellis, an American law firm. The company was founded in 1909 in Chicago, Illinois. Generating USD 4.15 billion in revenue in 2019, Kirkland & Ellis is the largest in revenues generated among the top law firms in the world on this list. Kirkland & Ellis has clients across the corporate, taxation, litigation, intellectual property, and restructuring fields. Kirkland & Ellis has over 2,000 lawyers and the revenue generated per lawyer is USD 2,075,000 million — the highest rate on this list of biggest law firms in the world.
Kirkland & Ellis has many high-profile clients including BP, General Motors, and Nike. Famous attorneys at the law firm include Neil Eggleston – former White House Counsel under President Barack Obama; Brett Kavanaugh – Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States; Alex Azar – Secretary of Health and Human Services; and Ken Starr – Whitewater special prosecutor and former Solicitor General under President George H. W. Bush. Kirkland & Ellis is the largest law firm in the US.
3. Allen & Overy, UK
With awards such as ‘Best Law Firm of the Year,’ ‘Employment Law Firm of the Year,’ ‘Insurance Law Firm of the Year,’ ‘International Firm of the Year’ to its credit, Allen & Overy is one the ten largest law firms in the world.
Known as simply A&O, the company now has 42 offices in 29 countries. The firm also claims that it has over 5000 clients and over 500 partners.
The law firm was also named ‘Most Innovative Law firm in Europe’ (awarded by the FT) six times.
4. Latham & Watkins LLP
Latham & Watkins is headquartered in Los Angeles, USA. They have offices in 14 countries of the world. Currently, they have 2400 lawyers on board that are functional worldwide. The annual turnover of this company is $3.77 billion. You must consider these facts while you are developing the business in the legal fields from your end.
They have their clients worldwide who have made valuable contributions in helping their clients win complex cases. It is another largest law firm in the world on whom you can bank upon your investments in the best possible manner. They possess the best lawyers in the world whom you can trust quickly.
5. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
Based in New York City, the law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate Meagher &Flom was founded as a startup in 1948. The firm has 22 offices across the globe and has consistently been ranked in the top ten for highest-grossing law firms in the world by the American Lawyer. The firm has been known for its partner’s and employees’ contributions to politics in the United States, reporting donations of $1.98 million to Democrats in the 2012 U.S. elections.
6. Sidley Austin
Sidney Austin is a pioneer legal firm providing high-value services to its diverse clients from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups and is widespread across 20 offices comprising of more than 2,000 lawyers. It is prominently known for its Supreme Court and Appellate practice, and the firm’s practice area stretches from Banking and Financial Services, I.P. Litigation, Labour, Immigration, to Healthcare. One of the striking features is that the firm consists of former officials from governmental agencies in China, U.S., and E.U.
In order to help in putting the world back together a little at a time, they have a solid pro bono program that provides free legal assistance to immigrants seeking asylum, disabled veterans, and victims of domestic abuse in developing nations. They also contribute to charity giving prominence to gender diversity. Another interesting fact is that Michelle Obama met Barack Obama while working at Sidley as an associate.
7. DLA Piper
One of the biggest global law firms with lawyers in more than 40 countries, DLA Piper came into existence after a mega-merger of multiple international law firms in 2005.
Headquartered in London and Chicago, this firm came in third with annual revenues at $3.11 billion. It employs nearly 4,000 lawyers throughout its offices, with practice areas in sectors such as education, government contracting, insurance, and technology.
The firm was fourth in the United States in revenue in 2017, taking in $2,634,094,000. That amount yields $730,000 per attorney in the firm.
8. Norton, Rose & Fullbright
The international firm began with a sole practitioner in London whose associates brought in Sir Phillip Rose as part of the practice. By the 1960s, Norton Rose merged with a firm that specialized in shipping and maritime law, benefitting from the growth of international trade.
Fullbright & Jaworski was founded by R.C. Fullbright in 1919. The Houston firm represented clients in the energy, transportation, and shipping sectors. The named partner Leon Jaworski investigated Nazi war crimes and was the Assistant Attorney General to John F. Kennedy, prosecuting Civil Rights cases. Later, he was a Watergate prosecutor. The two firms merged in 2013.
It is the fifth-largest law firm in the world that you cannot ignore from your end. The best thing about this law firm is that it comprises more than 10000 lawyers in almost more than 70 countries. The current annual revenue of this law firm is $2.9 billion annually. It is one of the best in the lot that you can look for from your end.
Dentons is one of the most reputed brands in the world that you must consider from your end that can help you win the cases in your favor easily and quickly. It has the power to help you with all kinds of legal obligations that you face in your case. The more you can know about them, the better you can understand your work style.
10. Sullivan & Crowell
More than 130 years after the founding of the firm by Algernon Sydney Sullivan and William Nelson, the firm has been expanding around the globe, spanning over nine countries comprising of 13 offices. They became noticeable by aiding the spear headers in financing for the Panama Canal and in the formation of U.S. Steel. M&A, Project Finance, Securities/Capital Markets, and Banking and Financial Services come under the ambit of the firm with a specialty in securities litigation and white-collar defense.
The firm has a robust career plan for its associates, with the main focus on developing their skills and experience by providing career counseling sessions. Recently, they opened a Moot Courtroom in their office in New York with the aim of preparing their associates for upcoming trials. S&C is dedicated to pro bono work, and they have devoted over 62,000 hours for their 400 pro bono clients.
11. Clifford Chance
Founded in 1987 by the merger of Coward Chance established in 1802 and Clifford Turner founded in 1900, the firm is one of the largest law firms in the world, both by revenue and lawyer count. The firm is located in London, England, and is part of the prestigious Magic Circle.
In 2019, Clifford Chance had the highest revenue of all law firms that were members of the Magic Circle. It has received multiple accolades, such as International Law Firm of the Year at the IFLR Europe Awards in 2019. The firm has 574 partners in 32 offices in 21 countries and is most known for its work on banking and finance, mergers and acquisitions, and capital markets.
12. White & Case
White & Case LLP is an international law firm based in New York City founded by two Wall Street Lawyers in 1901. The firm started with humble beginnings from a two-room office on Nassau Street in New York City. Today, the firm has 44 offices in 30 countries worldwide, operating in Latin America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.
The firm has had notable cases throughout its 120-year long history, such as representing the sellers in the $51 million sales of the Empire State Building in 1951. In 2019, the firm’s antitrust law practice was named in Global Competition Review’s Top 5 Global Elite.
Conclusion: Law firms can have multiple practice areas, and for the world’s top firms, expertise is required at both the local and global levels. The law firms listed above are successfully running their business across multiple practice areas, and have been effective in managing billion-dollar revenues consistently.