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The Biggest Law Firms Are Growing More Quickly Than the Rest, Survey Data Shows

Posted Apr 16, 2012 7:45 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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The largest law firms continue to grow, dwarfing midsize firms that would have been among the nation’s largest only 35 years ago.

The nation’s largest 50 law firms, in terms of headcount, employ an average of 1,216 lawyers, 123 percent more than the firms ranked 51 to 100, the National Law Journal reports. In 2002, the top 50 firms averaged 954 lawyers, about 97 percent more than the firms in the next tier.

The National Law Journal has expanded its list of the largest firms from the top 250 to the top 350. The firm at the bottom of the list—ranked No. 350 in terms of head count—is Freeborn & Peters in Chicago, with 112 lawyers. When the National Law Journal first started its survey in 1978, a firm with 112 lawyers would have been the 60th largest, the NLJ reports in a separate story.

Average headcount at firms ranked 251 to 350 is 133, compared to 505 for firms ranked 1 to 250.

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