Where are America’s biggest firms putting their resources? This special report on regional data collected from our NLJ 250 survey of America’s largest law firms attempts to answer that question. Every office at every NLJ 250 firm is reflected here, nearly 3,000 in all.

U.S. firms saw marginal growth in headcount in the 2012 survey, reporting an overall headcount of more than 126,000 attorneys, up 1.7 percent. The growth wasn’t universal, however. Headcount declined slightly in major U.S. markets like New York and Washington. But those drops were offset by increases internationally, including in London, which added 469 lawyers thanks in large part to the SNR Denton merger and in China, where big U.S. firms added 200 lawyers. (The NLJ 250 now reports about 2,250 lawyers in China.)


The NLJ 250 Regional Market Report
More than 126,000 attorneys work for firms listed on the NLJ 250. And of those, nearly 70 percent work in the 25 markets listed in the pages that follow. We’ve ranked markets by NLJ 250 headcount and have included 23 major cities and two other distinct markets — Orange County, Calif., and Northern New Jersey — with large concentrations of lawyers. We also look at eight major international markets. City totals include lawyers in suburban offices.

Market difficulties don’t deter U.S. firms from expanding in China
China continues to be a draw for NLJ 250 firms, which added 194 lawyers to their offices there during the past year. The number of those offices grew from 124 to 132 during 2012.

Largest Law Firm Offices in the United States
More than 19,000 lawyers work in the 50 largest U.S. offices.

Foreign Powers
Largest international offices of NLJ 250 firms.

Ranking the States
Where do big firm lawyers work?

Major Markets 
Metropolitan areas with the most NLJ 250 lawyers.

Branch Offices
A comprehensive list of the offices at NLJ 250 firms.


The Big Picture
The nation’s largest firms gained more than 2,000 lawyers in 2011. But growth was concentrated in a few sectors.

New to the Survey
We examine a dozen firms that entered or returned to this year’s NLJ 250. What factors are driving their growth?

Quinn’s Rise
Quinn Emanuel added 190 lawyers last year—the biggest nonmerger increase among the NLJ 250.

Nonequity partners grew by 8 percent
The legal industry’s shift toward nonequity partnerships continued last year, even as law firms began to rebuild their attorney headcounts.


The NLJ 250
Our annual ranking of the nation’s 250 largest law firms. Plus: Data on partners, associates and other attorneys.