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The Recorder began reporting on the top-grossing law firms in Northern California in 1989. Over the next 13 years we gradually expanded our coverage to include the top 20 firms across the entire state. This year we are doubling our efforts and presenting our first issue of the California 40 — a rundown of the 40 highest grossing firms in the state, from $769.5 million Latham & Watkins to $44.5 million Hancock Rothert & Bunshoft. We intend the list and accompanying stories to provide a helpful snapshot of the state’s formidable market for large and mid-sized law firms. Several caveats are in order. First off, we are focusing on revenues only for this list, and leaving the issue of profitability for another day. (You can determine the profits per partner for the top 25 firms on this list by consulting The American Lawyer‘s Am Law 200 rankings.) Second, it is important to understand that we did not survey every California law firm for this list. Because the potential size of the field is so overwhelming, and because one large contingency fee can have such a dramatic impact on the revenues of a smaller firm, we decided to consider only those firms with 100 or more lawyers. (Even then it’s entirely possible that we missed one or two who deserved to be on the list. We apologize in advance.) A few words about methodology. In the vast majority of cases, firm management has provided us with figures. Generally those figures seem plausible, although sometimes they do not. At a handful of firms management provides only a range, and a few firms refuse to cooperate at all. In every instance we do our best to validate the number management has given us, pinpoint the correct number within the range or construct an intelligent estimate. It is our longstanding policy not to reveal which are which. Some other information you should know: Revenue figures are rounded to the nearest $500,000. They are intended to include paralegal billings, but not revenue from ancillary businesses, equity investments or charges for disbursements. Headcounts generally are full-time equivalents as of August 2001. In most instances our results are based on the accounting method used by the firm. Finally, it’s important to recognize the many reporters who contributed to this effort — so many that it is unwieldy to list all of them in bylines. The Recorder‘s Renee Deger, Brenda Sandburg and Alexei Oreskovic contributed much of the research and writing, as did The American Lawyer‘s Susan Beck and Laura Pearlman. Former Recorder reporter Lauren Gard, now a San Francisco free-lance writer, made a substantial contribution as well. David Brown, The Recorder‘s assistant managing editor, coordinated much of the reporting. Also contributing on the editing front were American Lawyer‘s director of editorial research, Margaret Daisley, and Senior Editor Jim Schroeder. We hope you will enjoy this premier issue of California 40. Please e-mail me at [email protected] with any feedback you wish to share. Scott Graham Editor in Chief

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