Relative growth of 200 largest US law firms and law departments 1997-2004

According to the National Law Journal, in 1997 the 200 largest firms had 67,853 lawyers. The same year, according to Corporate Legal Times, the 200 largest law departments had 20,930 lawyers.

Using the same sources, the largest law firms in 2000 had 88,012 lawyers and in 2004 had 102,882. The largest 200 law departments in 2000 had 25,836.5 lawyers and in 2004 had 27,420 i
Hence, the firms grew 29.7% from 1997 to 2000 and an additional 16.9% from 2000 to 2004 while the departments grew 23.4% from 1997 to 2000 but only 6.1% from 2000 to 2004. For the longer period, the 200 largest firms grew 51.6% from 1997 to 2004, while the 200 largest law departments (non-governmental) grew 31%.

The resource gap widens between the massive law firms and the massive law departments, with the total lawyers in the big firms being 3.75 more than the total lawyers in the big departments. (See my post of April 18, 2005 on attitudes of law departments toward large firms.)

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