DLA is Biggest Law Firm with 3,335 attorneys

The National Law Journal 250 is out, with news that law firms experienced their biggest growth spurt since 2001. The nation's largest law firms expanded by a robust 5.6 percent in 2007.

Topping the charts as the largest firm is DLA Piper with 3,623 attorneys, displacing Baker & McKenzie with 3,335 attorneys from the top perch, which it had occupied for nearly 30 years. What's even more amazing, DLA Piper did not even enter the top 25 until five years ago, but through mergers and expansions, reached the top two by 2005.

A total of 128,213 attorneys worked at those firms this year, compared with last year's attorney census of 121,423.

  • The number of women attorneys reported by law firms also showed a brisk uptick. In 2007, women attorneys equaled 41,558 of the attorneys among NLJ 250, a 6.6 percent increase. Last year, 38,998 of the attorneys were women. The average number of women partners among NLJ 250 in 2007 was 39.3
  • Day Pitney, the 400-attorney Connecticut law firm, grew 59.4 percent through mergers.
  • Thelen Reid & Priest with 600 lawyers, grew by 59 percent through mergers.
  • Drinker Biddle & Reath's grew 44.3 percent by merging with Chicago's Gardner Carton & Douglas. The firm now has 658 lawyers in 12 offices.
  • Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Nicholson Graham grew by 41.2 percent by merging with Seattle-based Preston Gates & Ellis to form a 1,381-attorney firm.

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