In the 2018 NLJ 500, the number of lawyers working at the country’s 500 largest U.S.-centric law firms in 2017 increased by 1 percent from the previous year to nearly 165,300. As for average firm size, it picked up slightly, rising by four lawyers to 331 in 2017.

In this year’s package, we take you behind the numbers to unpack some of the shifts at individual firms. How can a combination impact a firm’s trajectory? Immensely. After mergers, one firm moved up more than 30 places on our list. Another saw its head count grow by nearly 49 percent.

Explore the NLJ 500 rankings, charts and commentary on the shifts in 2017. Then, take a look at our Women in Law Scorecard, which ranks firms on gender diversity. One firm earns top honors for the seventh year in a row. How does it maintain its streak? Read on.                 –Lisa Helem, Editor in Chief


THE NLJ 500: Large Firm Growth Slows Amid Consolidation and Contraction Lawyer counts increased by 1 percent, but large firm growth was slowed due to consolidation. Just three of the top five firms on the NLJ 500 showed total lawyer headcount growth: Hogan Lovells, Baker McKenzie and Norton Rose Fulbright. READ MORE


THE NLJ 500: Which 5 Cities Have the Most Lawyers? The NLJ 500 report each year allows us to look much further than simply firm-wide head counts. It lets us look country by country, city by city and firm by firm too. READ MORE


THE NLJ 500: Four Law Firms to Note from 2017 A newbie, a jump in the ranks, and the biggest head count gains and losses on this year’s list. READ MORE


CHART: Top Growth and Loss for 2017 These firms grew or shrunk the most by headcount or percentage during 2017. READ MORE


THE NLJ 500: Women’s Scorecard: Career-Nurturing Firms Win High Rankings For the seventh year in a row, the Fragomen, Del Rey, Bern-sen & Loewy holds the top spot on The National Law Journal’s Women in Law Scorecard, which ranks the nation’s largest law firms according to their percentages of women attorneys. READ MORE


THE NLJ 500: Where Women Lawyers Succeed: NLJ Scorecard Reveals Which Firms Make the Grade The Women’s Scorecard is produced as part of the annual NLJ 500 firm head count report. READ MORE


THE NLJ 500 CHART: Our Rankings of The Nation’s Largest Law Firms The NLJ 500 is The National Law Journal’s survey of the 500 largest law firms in the United States covering the previous calendar year. Data is collected from firms at the same time as the Am Law financial numbers. ALM sent surveys this year to more than 900 law firms to determine the 500 largest U.S.-centric firms by headcount. Firms smaller than No. 350 are divided into two tiers instead of earning individual ranks. READ MORE