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BigLaw Lost Nearly 10K Lawyers in Last Three Years

Posted Apr 25, 2011 7:54 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Large law firms lost nearly 2,900 lawyers last year, but the number pales in comparison to the previous year’s losses.

In 2009, large law firms shrank by about 6,600 lawyers, the National Law Journal reports. “Expand that view to 2008, and the headcount drain is a rounding error away from 10,000 attorneys,” the publication says. The numbers are from the publication’s annual survey of large law firms.

The law firms that grew the most, in percentage terms, last year were Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith and Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, which had 15 percent gains, according to an NLJ chart. They are followed by Polsinelli Shughart; Best Best & Krieger; and Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman, with 13 percent gains.

The firms with the biggest percentage declines are the now dissolved law firm Yoss, which lost 29 percent of its lawyers last year; Thompson & Knight, which shed 24 percent of its attorneys; and the now dissolved law firm Howrey, which lost 23 percent.

The largest law firm is Baker & McKenzie, according to another chart (PDF). The top five are:

1) Baker & McKenzie, with 3,738 lawyers.

2) DLA Piper, with 3,348 lawyers.

3) Jones Day, with 2,502 lawyers.

4) Hogan Lovells, with 2,363 lawyers.

5) Latham & Watkins, with 1,931 lawyers.

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