• How are the rankings decided?
The Global 100 is a ranking of law firms by gross revenue. There are two supplementary charts ranking firms by headcount and by profits per equity partner. To be included on the profits per equity partner ranking the firm must appear on either the gross revenue or headcount charts.

• What does full-time equivalent (FTE) mean?
Full-time equivalent means all full-time attorneys plus the equivalent number of part-time attorneys. For example, two half-time attorneys equal one full-time equivalent attorney. The formula also pro-rates an attorney’s time at the firm. For example, incoming associates are counted as 0.33 a person because they start in September.
• How should a firm calculate the average FTE lawyer count for a calendar year?
Take the average FTE lawyer count for each month, add and divide by 12.
• How does ALM differentiate between equity and nonequity partners?
We count equity partners as those partners who receive a Schedule K-1 and receive no more than half their compensation on a fixed-income basis. Nonequity partners are not full participants in the firm’s profits, though they may have voting rights in firm matters.
• Who should be included in the category other attorneys?
Everyone except partners and associates should be included in this category. So, counsel, of counsel, senior counsel and staff attorneys all belong in this section. Retired partners listed as "of counsel" or otherwise should not be included unless they work full-time. "Other" does not include temporary or contract attorneys or trainees.

• How does the survey add up the census figures?
For question 6, the survey will add the raw numbers across each row and then round to the nearest whole number for each city. For question 7, the survey will add the raw numbers for each column and round the nearest whole number for each type of attorney. These rounded figures are then added to become the total attorney figure.

• How does ALM define a temporary and contract attorneys?
Temporary and contract attorneys are those who are hired on a contract basis for a fixed period of time and receive no benefits. Do not include temporary or contract attorneys and trainees in the total number of attorneys for the census.

• How does ALM define geographic regions?
We group geographic regions into the following areas: Africa, Latin America / Caribbean, North America, South America, Oceania, Asia, Middle East and Europe.  For more information and a finer breakout of which countries belong in these regions, click here.


• How does ALM define gross revenue?
Gross revenue is fee income from legal work only. It does not include disbursements, or income from non-legal ancillary businesses.


• How does the survey calculate revenue per lawyer?
The survey divides gross revenue by the number of lawyers to determine revenue per lawyer.

• How does ALM define net?
The net is the total compensation paid to equity partners.

• How does the survey calculate profits per partner?
The survey divides net by the number equity partners to determine profits per partner.


What Counts as Pro Bono?

With a few exceptions listed below, we define pro bono in accordance with the Pro Bono Institute.

The following is that group’s definition:

The term ‘pro bono’ refers to activities of the firm undertaken normally without expectation of fee and not in the course of ordinary commercial practice and consisting of (i) the delivery of legal services to persons of limited means or to charitable, religious, civic, community, governmental, or educational organizations in matters designed primarily to address the needs of persons of limited means; (ii) the provision of legal assistance to individuals, groups, or organizations seeking to secure or protect civil rights, civil liberties, or public rights; or (iii) the provision of legal assistance to charitable, religious, civic, community, governmental, or educational organizations in matters in furtherance of their organizational purposes, where the payment of standard legal fees would significantly deplete the organization’s economic resources or would be otherwise inappropriate.

For more information on the PBI definition, please consult the Institute’s Web site, probonoinst.org.

We ask that firms reporting their pro bono numbers to The American Lawyer follow the PBI rules with the following exceptions:

• We do not include pro bono hours by summer associates or paralegals.

• In a limited number of cases, firms may seek court-awarded legal fees. We ask that at the beginning of cases in which such fee applications are possible, firms commit to donate any court-awarded fees to legal service organizations or their own charitable foundations; or to deposit the funds into an earmarked firm account to cover pro bono expenses. Firms that do not make that commitment should not report hours devoted to such cases as pro bono work. This rule applies prospectively.

• Firms should interpret strictly the rules governing pro bono activities for well-endowed nonprofit organizations. Only work that protects civil or public rights or addresses the needs of people of limited means qualifies as pro bono for these purposes. Board service or general bar activities do not count.

For any questions that are not addressed here, including technical assistance for the online survey, please contact Russell Miskiewicz at