The Am Law 100 data reveals that gross revenue grew 5.5 per cent on average, net income increased by 6.1 pe rcent, profit per equity partner grew by 6.3 per cent, revenue per lawyer moved up 3.2 per cent and headcount rose 2.2 per cent. The top law firms ranked by gross revenue are Kirkland & Ellis, Latham & Watkins, Baker McKenzie, DLA Piper, and, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. The average profit per partner in AmLaw100 firms was $1,767,054 - though the top firms amassed over three times that amount.
The data 'paints a picture of prosperity', according to Gina Passarella, Editor-in-Chief of The American Lawyer. 'Despite increasing pressures on price and demand, more firms saw growth in revenue and profits in 2017 than they did in the prior year. A closer look at the data shows the firms toward the top of the 100 are growing at faster rates than the bottom half of the list, continuing a trend of stratification we have seen building over years. But all in all, most firms figured out a way to show increasing returns in 2017.'
Success in 'the small things'
A clear trend is the importance of management and execution in achieving success. Nicholas Bruch, Senior Analyst at ALM Intelligence, which assisted in compiling the data, explains: 'We see some segments of the market doing better than others, but within every segment there are firms outperforming their competitors. That tells us that strategy and market positioning are important, but they aren’t determinative. The one thing successful firms have in common is that they are focusing on the small things. Ultimately the Am Law data tells a story of the increasing importance of managing costs, utilisation and a whole range of other operational metrics.'