In this article, we will take a look at the 15 largest law firms in the world by headcount. To skip our detailed analysis, you can go directly to the 5 largest law firms in the world by headcount.
If you’ve seen Suits or any of the myriad other legal shows, law and law firms in particular will have mythical status in your mind. I know that when I was thinking about future career opportunities, law shows were one of the reasons I was so drawn to law. However, the reality is quite different. The law is less about passionately typing documents on your opponent’s desk or shouting “Damn” at every opportunity. It’s more about sifting through endless precedents and relevant case law to back up your argument and lots of paperwork. It memorizes all kinds of laws and while criminal law can be appetizing and interesting, most other types of law aren’t really, especially corporate law.
There are several types of lawyers, apart from just criminal lawyers who prosecute or defend people accused of crimes. Tax lawyers represent their clients in tax matters and have both individuals and businesses as clients. On the other hand, intellectual property lawyers specialize in trademark and patent laws for different types of intellectual property, which may include films, inventions, films, or other types of productions. Environmental lawyers, on the other hand, focus on the ever-increasing rules and regulations relating to the environment as we continue to realize the severe and significant global impacts of climate change. Security attorneys deal with matters relating to the purchase and sale of shares, an incredibly complex area of law and the importance of having an attorney therefore cannot be underestimated, especially if you are engaged in securities transactions. a very high value.
Depending on the jurisdiction in which the law firm operates, there are several types of law firms, including general partnership, sole proprietorship, limited liability partnership, limited liability partnership, l professional association and even a professional society. In some countries, such as the United States, only lawyers are allowed to hold any stake in or run law firms. Also, unlike most corporations, law firms are not allowed to offer shares through an initial public offering, which is why you won’t see any publicly traded law firms.
In addition to television and movies making law incredibly attractive, it’s also true that if you’re really good at being a lawyer, you can progress quickly and earn handsome salaries, which can be a major motivation for many. However, lawyers also tend to work very long hours at most firms, especially at larger firms where, according to Indeed, lawyers work an average of 66 hours per week, which works out to 11 hours per day, 6 days a week. Meanwhile, lawyers in small and medium firms work less (and earn less too) at 42-54 hours per week on average. Lawyers working for government agencies work 40 hours a week.
The reasons why lawyers work so much, or overwork to be more precise, is because they are required to bill a certain number of hours, and the more hours billed to clients, the greater the Lawyers’ incomes are higher and more checks from the partners. Also, being a lawyer is a very client-focused job where you have regular meetings with clients and of course with fellow lawyers and firm managers. The number of meetings adds up to overtime worked per week and tight deadlines or urgent activities can sometimes even lead to sleepless nights. Additionally, many tasks, including travel and administrative tasks, are non-billable and therefore add to an attorney’s overall workload. Like I said, it’s interesting but not as dramatic as in John Grisham’s movies or novels.
There are many lawyers in the world, numbering in the millions. In the United States alone, there are over a million lawyers and supply often exceeds demand, meaning most newly graduated lawyers struggle to get good jobs or start their own firms with little customers and even fewer high-paying customers. That’s why despite all the glamor and money associated with the profession, only a select few are able to enjoy these benefits and the rest is a daily occurrence. The situation is even worse in the public system, whether you are a prosecutor or a defender, where the salary is not high at all and there is far too much work for a person to work even if they work from 60 to 70 hours per week. Many public defenders handle 200 to 300 cases at the same time, and in major jurisdictions handle even more cases. This is a major problem because lawyers are the normal way for the public to get fair representation and it is obvious that no matter how well-meaning the defender is, they cannot give your case the time and attention it deserves. In the United States, this has been the case since the 1980s and has continued to be underfunded and understaffed ever since. There is little chance of attracting talent to a career where they will always be overworked and underpaid.
Despite the aforementioned issues, the law firm industry continues to grow rapidly and according to Grand View Research, the global legal services market was approaching $1 trillion, reaching $908 billion in 2021 and is expected to continue growing at a CAGR of 5.3%, which means it will cross the trillion dollar mark in a few years. The use of artificial intelligence in the legal industry has allowed it to grow rapidly, creating efficiencies that have allowed the industry to maximize revenue and reduce costs and time. Corporate lawyers make up the largest segment of the legal industry, followed by litigation, then labor/employment, bankruptcy, and finally tax. The use of legal libraries has also increased, allowing lawyers to access more resources and make better, well-informed decisions. Large firms account for 36% of the total share of the global legal industry due to the diverse services they provide across various segments.
We have determined the 15 largest law firms in the world based on their workforce. You won’t be surprised to learn that most of these firms are located in China or the United States, where the large population means there is a much higher demand for lawyers. These 15 companies have a combined workforce of approximately 70,000 people. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at the law firms with the highest headcounts, starting with number 15:
15. Kirkland and Ellis
Total workforce in 2021: 2,725
Kirkland & Ellis is one of the most prestigious law firms in the United States. Several attorneys went on to serve as federal judges or officials under the infamous United States Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, having also worked at Kirkland & Ellis.
14. Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
Total workforce in 2021: 2,800
One of the UK’s largest law firms, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has over 28 offices and approximately 427 partners. The company operates in several jurisdictions on many continents, including Asia, Europe and North America.
13. Latham and Watkins
Total workforce in 2021: 2,858
Latham and Watkins is an American company based in California. It is one of the most profitable law firms in the world in addition to being one of the largest law firms in the world in terms of headcount, recording revenue per partner of more than 4.5 millions of dollars.
12. Beijing DHH Law Firm
Total workforce in 2021: 3,010
Beijing DHH Law Firm provides services in more than a dozen sectors, including finance, security, corporate, energy and infrastructure, and foreign companies. DHH also has more than 10 overseas branches.
11. Norton Rose Fulbright
Total workforce in 2021: 3,178
Norton Rose Fullbright is an Anglo-American law firm with lawyers on six continents.
10. Evershed Sutherland
Total workforce in 2021: 3,385
Formed in 2017 from the merger of Eversheds LLP and Sutherlands Asbill & Brennan LLP, the firm currently has nearly 3,400 lawyers and over 4,000 total staff/
Total workforce in 2021: 3,418
Allbright is a Chinese law firm headquartered in Shanghai. It engages in various segments including Intellectual Property, Dispute Resolution, Securities & Capital Markets and Real Estate & Construction, among others.
8. King & Wood Mallesons
Total workforce in 2021: 3,574
One of Asia’s largest companies, King & Wood Mallesons has 30 offices in North America, Asia, the Middle East and Europe. Kings & Wood Mallesons operates a community impact practice and over 91% of the firm’s Australian lawyers have contributed by participating in pro bono work, with the combined total being over 54,000 hours in 2021. It also partners with Youth Law Australia, which provides free legal services to young people in Australia. Among the major companies he represents are Microsoft Corporation (NYSE:MSFT), which the firm advised in China.
7. DeHeng Law Firms
Total workforce in 2021: 3,689
One of the world’s largest law firms by headcount, DeHeng Law Offices is based in Beijing and currently has 27 offices in China, while it also has overseas offices in Brussels, Dubai, Nur-Sultan, New York and Brussels. The law firm was founded 29 years ago in 1993.
Total workforce in 2021: 3,848
CMS is Germany’s largest law firm and provides legal services in addition to tax advisory services. CMS consists of approximately 18 independent law firms with over 80 offices. The company was formed by six European law firms brought together in 1999.
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Disclosure: none. 15 largest law firms in the world by headcount is originally published on Insider Monkey.