Say Hello To The 2022 Am Law 200 Rankings
For Biglaw, 2021 was a very good year—but the future looks considerably less rosy.
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In 2022, stratification is a theme of American life—and of Biglaw rankings.
Last year was amazing for the Am Law 100, the nation’s 100 largest law firms ranked by revenue, as we learned back in the spring when the latest ranking came out. For the firms one tier down from the Am Law 100—the firms ranked #101 to #200 in terms of total revenue, a group the American Lawyer refers to as the “Second Hundred”—last year was also great, but not as great as it was for the top 100 firms. As a result, the gap between Am Law 100 firms and Second Hundred firms continued to grow in 2021, as it has been doing for years.
Here’s how the Second Hundred performed as a group in 2021, according to the latest Am Law 200 rankings (which came out a while ago and I’m covering belatedly; the past few weeks have been hectic, in legal news and for me personally):
Total revenue: $22.7 billion, up 9.1 percent.
Average revenue per lawyer (“RPL”): $761,675, up 7.7 percent.
Profits per equity partner (“PPEP”): $965,341, up 11.8 percent.
Total headcount: 29,751, up 1.3 percent.
These numbers are excellent, much higher than the prior year’s figures for the Second Hundred—increases of 1.1, 3.0, and 8.8 percent, respectively. But compare them to the increases for the Am Law 100 in 2021:
Total revenue: $127.4 billion, up 14.8 percent.
Average revenue per lawyer: $1.18 million, up 12.5 percent.
Profits per equity partner: $2.66 million, up 19.4 percent.
Total headcount: 107,931, up 2.1 percent.
[UPDATE (11:29 a.m.): As Ted Frank notes on Twitter, though, these financial figures aren’t as good as they might seem at first glance because inflation ran so high last year—around 7 percent, depending on which measure you use.]
Still, one can’t feel too bad for the average equity partner at a Second Hundred firm: earning almost $1 million a year ain’t too shabby. And as you can see in the profits-per-partner ranking at the end of this post, equity partners at celebrated firms like Boies Schiller Flexner, Irell & Manella, Munger Tolles & Olson, Susman Godfrey, and Williams & Connolly earned millions, plural.
Let’s start with revenue, the metric these rankings are based on. Here are the first ten firms in the Second Hundred, i.e., the firms ranked #101 to #110 in gross revenue (for the full list, plus lots of other interesting data, check out the American Lawyer):
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