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How We Calculated the Am Law 100

The Am Law 100 is reported by ALM publications throughout the United States, including The American Lawyer,  the Connecticut Law Tribune, the Daily Business Review (Miami), the Daily Report (Atlanta), The Legal Intelligencer (Philadelphia), The National Law Journal/Legal Times, the New Jersey Law Journal, The New York Law Journal, The Recorder (San Francisco) and Texas Lawyer. Most law firms provide their financials voluntarily for this report. Some choose not to cooperate, so we make estimates based on our reporting. But all data is investigated by our reporters.

If we discover we made an error in reporting a previous year’s financials, we correct the numbers and base the percentage changes in future years on restated numbers.

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Gross revenue is fee income from legal work. It does not include disbursements or income from nonlegal ancillary businesses.

Net income is total compensation to equity partners.

Profit margin is the percentage of gross revenue devoted to net income.

Lawyer counts are average full-time equivalent (FTE) figures for the 2018 calendar year. Temporary and contract attorneys are not included. Retired partners and of counsel are not counted as partners, nor are payments made to them included in net income.

Equity partners are those who receive no more than half their compensation on a fixed-income basis.

Nonequity partners are those who receive more than half their compensation on a fixed-income basis.

Leverage is total lawyers (excluding equity partners) divided by the number of equity partners.

Calculated Metrics

Compensation—all partners is net income (total payouts to equity partners) plus the fixed-income compensation paid to nonequity partners. A related metric, average compensation—all partners, is net income plus compensation to nonequity partners, divided by the number of equity and nonequity partners. These metrics provide a snapshot of compensation to the entire partnership, both equity and nonequity.

Profits per lawyer is net income divided by the total number of lawyers. It reduces the importance of such factors as leverage in assessing firm profitability.

Profits per equity partner is net income divided by the number of equity partners. This represents the average compensation to equity partners.

Revenue per lawyer is gross revenue divided by the total number of lawyers, measured on an average FTE basis. We have long considered this metric the best measure of a firm’s overall financial health.

Our Conventions

On the poster and the A-to-Z chart, full firm names are used. On all other charts we publish shortened firm names. We round gross revenue and net income to the nearest $1,000. Profits per partner, revenue per lawyer, profits per lawyer and average compensation—all partners are also rounded to the nearest $1,000.

Firms that are tied in the rankings are listed in alphabetical order.

How We Designate Location

Firms are placed in the “international” or “national” categories according to the distribution of their lawyers.

International firms are those with 40 percent or more of their lawyers outside the United States.

Vereins are broken out separately on our charts because their organizational structure, particularly regarding profit sharing among offices, differs significantly from other, traditionally structured Am Law 100 firms.

National firms are those with no more than 45 percent of their lawyers located in any single region of the U.S. We recognize eight regions for this purpose: New England (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont); New York City; Mid-Atlantic (Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York excluding New York City, Northern Virginia and Pennsylvania); Washington, D.C.; South/Southeast (Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Southern Virginia, Tennessee and West Virginia); Midwest (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin); West/Southwest (Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah and Wyoming) and West Coast/Pacific Rim (Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington).

Email: Jeanne Graham (jgraham@alm.com)