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Law departments and attitudes toward hiring the 30 behemoth firms with 1,000+ lawyers

Legal departments that follow the Pied Piper of convergence, that stop using many law firms and funnel more work to the remaining firms, inevitably find themselves attracted to larger law firms.  Larger firms can handle a broader array of services and dig deep into the specialty depths of their lawyers.

Recent research by Hildebrandt International found that two law firms have 3,000 or more lawyers; four firms boast 2,000 to 3,000 lawyers; and 24 have 1,000 to 2,000.  Of these firms, which are increasingly hard to identify as citizens of a particular home country, 16 are primarily US; 6

In my experience as a consultant, lawyers in law departments do not say, “Let’s hire X firm because it is one of the 30 largest firms in the world.”  They say, “Let’s hire Y partner, who happens to be at one of the 30 largest, but it’s Y’s experience, style, and brains we want – not the brontosaurus behind her.”  Yet steroidal firms keep bulking up, so law departments must be hiring them.

UK; 2 Australian; and 1 French.  Three are bipolar between the UK and the US; one is far-flung Baker & McKenzie; and one is Freshfields with its German part.