Despite Congressional gridlock on a number of critical national issues, legal work that grows from government relations and federal regulation continues to spell opportunity for lobbyists and lawyers—especially a handful of large, very profitable law firms originally founded outside Washington.

These general service law firms—Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, for example, and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, both founded in California—expanded their footprints in the nation’s capital last year.

Most of the old-line homegrown firms—such as Covington & Burling and Hogan Lovells—grew barely, if at all.

In the Washington region, the overall number of lawyers dipped slightly across law firms in 2013. The head count numbers provide a snapshot in time. Firms were asked to report full-time equivalent positions as of Dec. 31, 2013; numbers don’t include contract attorneys or summer associates.

The D.C. 25, a survey of the highest-grossing law offices, revealed that revenue stayed almost flat in the largest offices. Hogan led this year’s top earners, with $420 million in 2013 revenue from its Washington offices.

Morrison & Foerster, with two offices in the D.C. area, showed the biggest gain, joining the survey for the first time with a 32 percent revenue gain compared with the previous year. The firm kicked off Dickstein Shapiro from the list.

Patton Boggs—a homegrown law firm long noted for its lobbying work—experienced the sharpest decline. That drop preceded Patton’s merger with Squire Sanders in June, the largest combination involving a Washington-based firm this year.

Our Influence 50 survey, which examines top lobbying firms in the Washington area, found about a 4 percent increase in government-affairs income compared with the revenue total in last year’s survey. With nearly $103.7 million from advocacy in 2013, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld has reclaimed the top spot on the Influence 50, edging out Patton Boggs.

And Patton Boggs, which came in second, had $97.2 million in lobbying income, a nearly 9 percent decrease from last time. It was the only law firm to post a decline in revenue.

— Beth Frerking, editor in chief, The National Law Journal and Legal Times


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The LT 150: The D.C. Metro Area’s Largest Law Offices
Ranked by headcount, the 150 biggest players in the Washington legal market.


Akin Reclaims Its Lead as Patton Revenue Slides
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Chart: The Influence 50
Our annual list of the 50 top-earning lobbying practices, plus breakouts of top law firms and lobbying firms.

THE D.C. 25

Revenue for Top-Earning Law Firms Inches Up
Washington’s legal market grew again in 2013, at least when counting revenues generated by the city’s 25 top-earning law firms. The results show yet another year of gradual increases.

Chart: The D.C. 25
The top 25 Washington law offices, by revenue. Plus: highs and lows in revenue change and largest firms in D.C. by head count.