Annual Survey
Of the Nation’s
Largest Law Firms

NEW! 2004 Survey:

The NLJ 250

This is The National Law Journal‘s 26th annual survey of the nation’s largest law firms, covering the period Oct. 1, 2002, to Sept. 30, 2003. While most of the charts in the NLJ 250 are self-explanatory, here is some information about the process, the criteria and the definitions.

The NLJ sent surveys to some 300 law firms to determine the 250 largest. Eligibility is based on a firm’s total number of attorneys, and this year the cutoff point is 160. Additionally, a firm must have more lawyers based in the United States than in any other single country.Firms are ranked by the total number of full-time equivalent (FTE) attorneys, rather than just full-time attorneys, which allows us to create a more accurate picture of the size of the firm. In some cases, due to rounding, this calculation yielded slightly higher or lower numbers than the figures submitted by the law firms.

As in years past, in case of a tie, we rank firms by the number of partners and associates, excluding “other” attorneys. If the tie persists, we break it based on the number of partners at each firm. The city listed is the firm’s principal office. In cases where the firm did not wish to be identified with a single locale, the city listed is home to the firm’s largest office.

“Number of attorneys” reflects permanent, FTE attorneys.

The “Branch Offices” section lists the total number of attorneys in each city where the firm has offices.

One final note: Due to corrected information provided by Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati after last year’s publication date, this year’s chart reflects the revised 2002 information. The firm actually had a total of 660 attorneys in 2002, rather than the reported 720.Research Editor Cleo Cacoulidis oversaw this year’s survey. She was assisted by researchers Ellen Athena Catsikeas, Kate Nammacher and Laurie Collyer. Margaret Daisley, editorial research director for American Lawyer Media, and Leo Alvarez and Elizabeth DiFrancisco of the information technology department provided invaluable assistance.

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