(Gerard Huerta)

Well, now we know which firms were swimming naked after all. In fiscal 2012, The Am Law 100—which welcomes new members Bracewell & Guiliani; Faegre Baker Daniels; Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen and Loewy; McKenna Long & Aldridge; and Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart—posted modest gains on all our key metrics. For gross revenue, revenue per lawyer, and profits per partners, the top 100 firms notched low single-digit year-over-year in­creases. But those averages belied the recovery’s unevenness. Only 76 firms reported gross revenue increases last year. And only 66 had profit per partner increases—down from 80 firms and 72 firms, respectively, on last year’s Am Law 100 list. The lucky ones tended to have an international footprint, a strong transactions group, and a diverse set of practice areas, though boutique labor and employment and immigration firms also fared well. For those fortunate firms—and for the rest of The Am Law 100—the challenge will continue to be balancing growth against keeping expenses in check. After a lengthy recession and a fitful recovery, that’s a nice problem to have.

Previous Am Law 100 coverage :: 2012 |2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007


2013 Profitability Index INFOGRAPHIC: Click here for an interactive chart of four key metrics of law firm economics.
Gross Revenue: A New Number One
For the first time ever neither Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom nor Baker & McKenzie heads The Am Law 100’s gross revenue rankings, as DLA Piper—already the world’s largest firm by head count—claims the top spot.
Gross Revenue By Location

Revenue Per Lawyer: A Modest Upturn
Revenue per lawyer notched up slightly in 2012, as Am Law 100 firms posted an average increase of 2.6 percent.

Profits Per Partner: Profits Increase Moderately
Average profits per partner for The Am Law 100 went up 4.2 percent in 2012, but the growth was uneven.
Profits Per Partner By Location
Compensation – All Partners: Partner Pay Rises, Unevenly
Average compensation–all partners rose 3 percent in 2012, compared to 1.9 percent in 2011.
Compensation – All Partners By Location
Value Per Lawyer: Wachtell On Top Again
Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz continues to lead our value per lawyer rankings, as it has since the metric’s inception nine years ago.
Value Per Lawyer By Location
The Ten Year View
Plotting growth in profits per partner and proportion of equity partners at the 97 current Am Law 100 firms that were Am Law 200 firms for fiscal year 2002.
How we report law firm financials.


Spring Awakening
The Am Law 100′s modest gains hint that a fundamental recovery is taking root.
Disappearing Act
Cull the partnership to boost profits: That’s the conventional wisdom. But is it truth—or illusion?
All Business
How an unlikely leader rose to the top at Kirkland & Ellis.
Double Identity
In fits and starts, Perkins Coie saw the benefits of becoming a national firm.
How DLA Went Global
An interactive look at the ancestral history and international reach of the new top-grossing firm.

Striking It Rich
A contingency award from a Native American royalties rights case fuels Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton’s 36.5 percent boost in profits per partner.
No Pain at the Pump
Energy work helps drive a double-digit gain in profits per partner at Bracewell & Giuliani.
Cold Streak
Job one for Dorsey & Whitney’s new management: reversing five years of declining profits.
Playing the Visa Card
With head count up sharply, immigration shop Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy moves onto The Am Law 100.
A Blow to the Bottom Line
Profits drop sharply at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson as gross revenue falls 6.3 percent.
Separation Anxiety
In the wake of its breakup with Lorillard, Shook, Hardy & Bacon’s profits dive.
Where’s Chadbourne?
A charter member of The Am Law 100, Chadbourne & Parke falls to the Second Hundred.