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Research Found That 47 Percent of Corporate Legal Spending was Won by Big Law Firms

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Cravath, Swaine
Summary: New research found that 47 percent of corporate legal spending was won by big law firms in the United States in 2013.

The top-grossing 200 law firms in the United States have pulled in almost half of the country's business spending for legal services since 2010, according to The New York Times.


When the numbers are adjusted for inflation, the research found that the revenue logged in 2013 is much less compared to the revenue logged in 2004.

Growth in legal services has remained slow, increasing by just 4.6 percent from 2010 through 2013. This number is less than half of the growth rate that law firms saw in the years prior to the recession.

The research also found that spending for outside legal service came in at $168.7 billion, which is $6.4 billion less than the peak of $175.1 billion in 2008.

For the decade that started in 2004, annual business spending for legal services increased to $168.7 billion in 2013 from $159.4 billion in 2004.

Revenue dropped by 25.8 percent to $118.3 billion in 2013 when adjusted for inflation.

The top 200 firms in the country, which have more than 92,000 lawyers on payrolls, posted $776,000 in gross revenue per attorney in 2013.

When adjusted for inflation, the revenue per attorney dropped to $438,000, which is the lowest since this statistic first started being tracked back in 1998.

Profits per equity partner at the top 200 law firms hit $1.2 million in 2013 after being adjusted for inflation. This amount is the second-highest since 1998. There were 21 law firms that dominated the list, exhibiting profits per equity partner at $3 million. The number hit $2.1 million when adjusted for inflation.

All of the top 21 law firms posted revenue of $1 billion or more in 2013. Some of the top law firms in this group include Cravath, Swaine & Moore; Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom; Sullivan & Cromwell; and Wachtell Lipton, Rosen & Katz.
Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP

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