The 2024 NLJ 500

The NLJ 500 is the ranking of the nation's 500 largest firms based on headcount. Published annually in collaboration of the Compass and The National Law Journal editorial team, this report offers data on where and how the country’s largest law firms are expanding or contracting. The report also includes the starting salaries among these 500 firms.

This year’s NLJ 500 data shows headcount continuing to grow in 2023, though at a slower, pre-pandemic rate than the pace seen in 2022. On average, firm size increased 2.4% in 2023 as compared to 3.9% in 2022.

Most of the largest law firms saw modest headcount growth, with DLA Piper outpacing other firms with a 7.2% rise, while Baker McKenzie’s headcount fell by 4.6%. Hughes Hubbard & Reed led the way with starting salaries in 2023, paying its first-year associates a top salary of $235,000, with Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz following at $230,000. About 50 firms followed with a top first-year salary of $225,000. The five cities with the most lawyers in the NLJ 500 are, in descending order, New York, Washington, Chicago, Los Angeles and Boston.

Below you will find The 2024 NLJ 500 along with analysis about these firms’ growth trajectories and staffing trends of law firms across the United States. The past three years of NLJ 500 reports can be found at the bottom of this page.