Surveys

Overview

ALM's definitive ranking of America's top 100 revenue grossing law firms. The Am Law 100, which is published annually in the month of May, includes:

* Gross revenue, rank by gross revenue * Rank by gross revenue for prior year * Revenue per lawyer, rank by revenue per lawyer * Profits per partner, rank by profits per partner * Profits per partner for prior year * Net operating income * Compensation average for all partners, rank by compensation average all partners * Profitability index and rank * Number of lawyers * Number of equity partners * Number of nonequity partners * Leverage * Profit margin * Contact information, including address, phone, fax, Web site address

Beginning in 2005, the report was expanded to include Value per Lawyer. This figure is calculated by dividing the combined compensation of all partners by the total number of lawyers. That figure is then divided by $10 million to calculate how many lawyers it takes to generate that amount. As a result, the survey now includes the following new data points:

* Rank by Value per Lawyer * CAP divided by number of lawyers * Lawyers needed to generate $10 Million

Methodology/Sources:

With the exception of firm address and other contact information, the data in the Am Law 100 spreadsheet is derived from the May issue of The American Lawyer. Below is the methodology summary, which appeared in the issue.

How The American Lawyer Reports Law Firm Financials - The Am Law 100 is reported by staff members at ALM's 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), Legal Times (Washington, D.C.), 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 refuse to cooperate, so reporters call partners and calculate revenue and profits. But all data - whether or not it comes officially from the firm - is investigated by the reporters. In the event that an error in reporting is discovered, The American Lawyer 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. In all cases, the revenue and profit figures listed are for the firm's most recently completed fiscal year. Most Am Law firms are on a calendar fiscal year.

Net is compensation paid to equity partners.

Equity Partners are those who file a Schedule K-1 tax form and 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 basis.

Total Full-Time Equivalent Lawyers for firms whose fiscal year ends after August 31, 2008, are provided as of that date. If the firm's fiscal year ended between March 31 and August 31, 2008, we ask for the head count at the end of the firm''''s fiscal year. This is intended to exclude first-year associates, who typically start in the fall but take several months to produce revenue. To ensure that profits per partner and leverage data are consistent, partners without equity shares in the firm's profits (or who do not have more than a partial equity share in the firm's profits) are not counted as partners. Retired partners and of counsel are not counted as partners, nor are payments made to them counted in net operating income.

Calculations:

* Revenue per lawyer is calculated by dividing the gross revenue by the number of lawyers.
* Profits per partner is calculated by dividing net operating income by number of equity partners and rounded to the nearest $5,000.
* Compensation, all partners is calculated by adding per-partner profits 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 the compensation for all partners by the total number of lawyers. That figure is divided 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 income to gross revenue, multiplied by 100. It also can be obtained by dividing profits per partner by revenue per lawyer.
* Location of Firms: The American Lawyer identifies some firms as "international" or "national," rather than identifying them by city, based on the percentage of the firm's attorneys who work in various regions of the country and the percentage that work outside the U.S. Those breakouts are obtained from the most recent National Law Journal NLJ 250 survey. If 40 percent or more of the firm''''s lawyers were located outside the U.S., 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.

Our Conventions

We round gross revenue and net operating income to the nearest $500,000. Profits per partner, revenue per lawyer, and compensationall partners are rounded to the nearest $5,000.

Firms that are tied in the rankings are listed in alphabetical order.

Designation of Regions and Markets

The American Lawyer used the following classifications for identifying the geographical concentration of a firm's offices and attorneys:

* New England: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont
* New York City
* Mid-Atlantic: Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York State (excluding New York City), Northern Virginia, Pennsylvania
* Washington, D.C.
* South & Southeast: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North and South Carolina, Southern Virginia, Tennessee, West Virginia
* Midwest: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North and South Dakota, Ohio, Wisconsin
* West & Southwest: Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, Wyoming
* West Coast/Pacific Rim: Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington