Tag Archives: Law Firm Rankings

Charting Your Course: An In-Depth Resource for Law Students Navigating Multiple Job Offers

Embarking on the journey of a law student entails numerous critical choices, of which, selecting among multiple summer associate or first-year associate propositions stands paramount. At Lateral Link, we appreciate the significance of this decision. Our crew of seasoned legal talent finders, many of whom have trodden the path of summer associates themselves, impart a profound knowledge base and guidance, empowering you to make an enlightened choice.

Assessing Law Firm Offers Beyond the Facade of Rankings

Though rankings may shed some light on a firm’s accomplishments, they can inadvertently offer a skewed perspective. Abby Gordon, co-director of our Northeast associate recruitment division and a past summer associate and associate at Cleary Gottlieb, articulates this concept as, “Choosing a firm transcends mere rankings. While the prestige of your first firm undeniably paves the way for future career opportunities, there is more to it. It equally revolves around identifying the perfect alignment for your ambitions, interests, and ethical values.” Scrutinizing a firm’s work environment, stability, and resonance with your career aspirations is indispensable. For further insights on firm selection, refer to Abby’s counsel in a past ATL piece.

Holistic Evaluation of Influencing Variables

“Approach your opportunities with a comprehensive perspective, taking into account your immediate and long-term personal and professional objectives,” recommends Matt Bennett, a California-based Lateral Link recruiter, USC Gould School of Law graduate, and previous summer associate at Snell & Wilmer. “I consistently encourage candidates to strategize their thinking, to not just fixate on whether they fancy a firm’s current practice, and this mindset can be immensely beneficial to newly minted attorneys fresh from law school. Delve into the firm’s culture, geographical presence, practice domains, mentorship programs, benefits, work-life equilibrium, partnership prospects, hourly obligations, remuneration, and incentives. Consider the professional relationships that you can cultivate in the firm and their potential trajectory. These are critical considerations, especially when you are just initiating your legal career and lack the foresight that experience gifts. Extend your thinking beyond macro-level professional objectives: contemplate how the attributes of a firm might facilitate your short and long-term personal and lifestyle objectives. Endeavor to envision your evolving work and life aspirations as time progresses,” Bennett elaborates. Scrutinize whether the firm champions diversity, nurtures a collegial atmosphere, and offers pro bono opportunities, particularly if these aspects are valuable to you.

Tailored Guidance from Lateral Link Recruiters

Our recruiters understand the intricacies involved in choosing between multiple offers. “Lateral Link’s team consists of past attorneys and law firm recruiters. We can offer personalized advice drawn from our market knowledge, firm-specific intel, and industry connections,” shares Amy Langan, Manager of Professional Development & Law School Relations. To encourage a comprehensive dialogue about your career trajectory, Lateral Link extends a complimentary 15-minute discussion to address law students’ queries and offer direction.

The Impact of Your First Law Firm

Your inaugural law firm can exert a substantial impact on your legal career’s trajectory. To demonstrate this, Gloria Cannon, our Managing Principal, recites her experience from her law school OCI tenure:

“After deliberating offers from numerous Am Law 200 firms, I chose to spend my 2L summer at Milbank’s LA office, where I was exposed to corporate, real estate, litigation, and bankruptcy/financial restructuring practices. After my law school graduation, I joined Milbank’s financial restructuring team due to its esteemed reputation, cordial culture, and the size of the group, which allowed me to swiftly take on significant responsibilities with extensive client interactions.

One of our primary clients was Oaktree Capital Management, a distinguished Los Angeles-based asset management firm, for whom I executed a considerable amount of work. Consequently, during my 5th year, Oaktree’s General Counsel directly invited me to join their in-house legal team. I wouldn’t have encountered this fantastic in-house opportunity had I not been a summer associate at Milbank.”

This anecdote underlines the delicate dynamics involved in deciding between multiple offers – the decision transcends the work type and encapsulates firm culture, training, and long-term career opportunities.

Deciding on Your Legal Career’s Initial Steps

The decision should reflect your career ambitions, personal values, and lifestyle preferences. While mentors, professors, and recruiters can extend guidance, the ultimate decision rests with you. “Refrain from focusing on prestige or peer choices. Prioritize the decision that best aligns with your future goals. Apart from the numerous variables to consider, trust your intuition when assessing firms and the lawyers you have interacted with during interviews or over the summer,” advises Langan, a former recruiter for multiple Am Law 200 firms.

Perceiving the Broader Career Landscape

The path to a triumphant legal career comprises diverse opportunities. Each decision you make contributes to your comprehensive career evolution. While the choice of your first firm is unquestionably critical, it is merely one of the many vital decisions that will sculpt your legal career.

Lateral Link recruiters are dedicated to assisting law students in navigating multiple offer decisions. We are at your side throughout this journey, ensuring your choices align with your career objectives and personal ethics, enabling you to make the most advantageous choice for your future legal profession.

If you wish to connect with one of our recruiters to discuss your offer options, please contact Amy Langan at or via LinkedIn.

2023 Am Law 100 Rankings: A Comprehensive Breakdown

For top Biglaw firms, 2021 was an incredible year: gross revenue rose nearly 15%, while profits per equity partner grew almost 20%. Those growth rates were obviously unsustainable, so there is no great surprise that the financial metrics reported in the just-released 2023 edition of the Am Law 100 indicate a return to earth. 2022 was a roughly flat—for many firms, somewhat down—year. But considering the lofty heights reached in 2021, that actually isn’t so bad.

Collectively, in 2022, the AmLaw 100 attained:

  • Total revenue: $130.8 billion, up by 2.7%. 
  • Average revenue per lawyer: $1.16 million, down by 1.9%.
  • Profits per equity partner: $2.56 million, down by 3.7%.

For context, let’s compare the 2022 growth rates to the remarkably strong growth of 2021 and 2020, as well as the more typical rates of 2019:

Positive revenue growth paired with declining RPL implies that increases in headcount played a material role. Indeed, total AmLaw 100 headcount rose 4.7% (approximately 5,000 additional lawyers), with equity partnerships expanding by 1% (+207 equity partners) and the nonequity partner pool growing by 6.4% (+1,175 nonequity partners). This is consistent with our observations of the 2022 lateral market: even as deal work took a hit, 2022 was a reasonably strong year for lateral hiring.

Let’s now take a closer look at the three most important metrics — gross revenue, revenue per lawyer, and profits per partner — and the top 10 firms in each category.

Gross Revenue

Here are the top 10 firms in the 2023 Am Law 100 rankings, ranked by their gross revenue in 2022. You can access the full list here.

Kirkland & Ellis once again led the pack, widening its lead over Latham & Watkins, which maintained its second-place position despite a decline in revenue. There was little change to the top group, with Gibson Dunn entering the top 10 and Hogan Lovells dropping down to the 12th slot.

Most of the top 10 firms achieved revenue gains, but this was not representative of the broader Am Law 100. Although overall Am Law 100 revenue increased in 2022, 59 of the 100 firms suffered a revenue decline. This was a marked reversal from 2021, when every Am Law 100 firm increased revenue year-over-year.

Revenue Per Lawyer

Here are the top 10 firms in the 2023 Am Law 100 rankings based on revenue per lawyer. You can access the full list here.

It was not a great year for revenue per lawyer among the Am Law elite, highlighted by the 12% declines for Davis Polk and Simpson Thacher. Wachtell, Sullivan & Cromwell, Cravath, and Kirkland maintained their positions at the top of the table despite RPL decreases. Proskauer was the only new entrant into the top 10, with Quinn Emanuel falling to the 13th slot due to a 13% RPL decline—a notable hit in a relatively strong year for litigation.

Profits Per Equity Partner

And finally, the ranking we’ve all been waiting for: the top 10 firms by profits per equity partner. You can access the full list here.

The big news is that Kirkland has overtaken perennial champion Wachtell as leader of the PPEP ranking. Wachtell made history in 2021 as the first firm to exceed the $8 million PPEP mark. But a 13% drop in 2022—in the face of Kirkland’s 2% increase—has dislodged Wachtell from the top spot.

Wachtell’s percentage decline is not the highest among the top 10: that title goes to Davis Polk, which suffered a whopping 21% drop in PPEP. In the process, Davis Polk fell from the third slot to the fifth. New entrants into the top 10 were Skadden and Gibson Dunn. They displaced Cravath, which fell to 13th thanks to a 19% PPEP decline, and Cahill, which fell out of the Am Law 100 entirely.

In 2022, 9 Am Law 100 firms achieved profits per equity partner above $5 million (compared to 14 in 2021 and 6 in 2020). It wasn’t the year some firms might have hoped for, but even so, being an Am Law 100 equity partner in 2022 was still substantially more lucrative than prior to the pandemic.

Gain further insights and analysis on the 2023 Am Law 100 rankings by tuning in to our latest episode of Movers, Shakers & Rainmakers. This engaging Lateral Link podcast offers a deeper understanding of the legal industry landscape.