In today’s globalised world, law is a critical service that intersects with various facets of life, including business, finance, taxation, litigation, corporate affairs, intellectual property, and more. As the demand for legal expertise continues to rise, law firms are growing in size, influence, and revenue. This article explores the top 10 largest law firms in the world based on their annual revenues in the fiscal year 2020, as compiled by The International Lawyer’s Global 200 ranking.
Kirkland & Ellis LLP: Leading the Pack
With an astounding annual revenue of $4.83 billion in 2020, Kirkland & Ellis LLP secured the top spot on our list. This U.S.-based powerhouse is known for its specialised services in corporate law, taxation, litigation, intellectual property, and restructuring. Boasting approximately 2,000 lawyers, Kirkland & Ellis serves a niche set of corporate clients, including industry giants like Boeing, Delta Airlines, General Motors, and Dow Chemical. Founded in 1909 in Chicago, the firm has a rich history of providing top-notch legal services.
Latham & Watkins LLP: A Global Force
Headquartered in Los Angeles and with offices in 14 additional countries, Latham & Watkins is a global legal force to be reckoned with. In 2020, the firm reported annual revenues of $4.33 billion, securing its place as the second-largest law firm in the world. Latham & Watkins offers a wide range of services, spanning activism, entertainment, media, real estate, and white-collar defense. With more than 3,000 lawyers on board, they are well-equipped to tackle complex legal challenges.
DLA Piper: A Global Network
DLA Piper, headquartered in London and Chicago, emerged as the third-largest law firm globally, with annual revenues reaching $3.13 billion in 2020. This legal giant has a presence in over 40 countries and employs nearly 4,000 lawyers across various practice areas, including education, government contracting, insurance, and technology. DLA Piper is known for its international reach and played a notable role in representing Paul Ceglia in a high-profile lawsuit against Mark Zuckerberg.
Dentons: The Result of Strategic Mergers
Dentons, a product of numerous mergers in recent years, secured the fourth spot on our list with an annual revenue of $2.9 billion. Boasting more than 11,000 lawyers in over 80 countries, Dentons is a global legal powerhouse. While Dentons lacks a centralised headquarters, it has a significant presence in China, with numerous lawyers and offices. The firm’s strategic approach to growth through mergers has enabled it to become a major player in the legal industry.
Baker McKenzie: A Strong Global Presence
Founded in 1949 and headquartered in Chicago, Baker McKenzie is the fifth-largest law firm in the world, reporting revenues of $2.9 billion in 2020. With over 13,000 employees across 46 countries, Baker McKenzie provides legal services across a broad spectrum of practice areas. The firm’s commitment to a global presence has made it a go-to choice for multinational corporations seeking legal expertise.
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP: A New York Icon
Founded in 1948 and headquartered in New York, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, commonly known as Skadden, ranks sixth on our list with annual revenues of $2.66 billion. The firm boasts 20 offices worldwide, comprising more than 1,500 lawyers specialising in over 50 practice areas. Skadden’s clientele includes businesses, financial institutions, and government agencies from around the globe, reflecting its international reach and influence.
Sidley Austin: A Legacy of Excellence
Founded in 1866 and headquartered in Chicago, Sidley Austin, commonly known as Sidley, is the seventh-largest law firm in the world. In 2020, the firm reported revenues of $2.46 billion and employed over 1,800 lawyers across 20 offices worldwide. Sidley focuses on corporate finance, employment law, regulatory and government affairs, and tax law, providing comprehensive legal services to a diverse clientele.
Morgan, Lewis & Bockius: A Philadelphia Powerhouse
With its headquarters in Philadelphia and 30 offices worldwide, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius ranks eighth on our list, reporting $2.45 billion in revenue in 2020. Founded in 1873, the firm has a rich history and employs 2,200 lawyers. Its broad spectrum of legal services attracts clients from various sectors, making it a key player in the legal industry.
White & Case: A Global Perspective
Founded in 1901 and headquartered in Tampa, White & Case stands as the ninth-largest law firm globally, with reported revenues of $2.39 billion in 2020. The firm employs more than 2,200 lawyers across 47 additional locations worldwide. White & Case’s international outlook positions it as a vital resource for clients seeking legal expertise on a global scale.
Clifford Chance: The International Perspective
Founded in 1987 through a merger, Clifford Chance is headquartered in London and has offices in 23 other countries. With approximately 2,500 lawyers, the firm reported revenues of $2.3 billion in 2020. Clifford Chance specialises in sectors such as banking, healthcare, private equity, and transport and logistics. Its international presence makes it a valuable resource for clients navigating complex legal challenges on a global scale.
The world’s largest law firms are essential pillars of the legal industry, providing specialised expertise across various practice areas and serving clients on a global scale. These firms, driven by their commitment to excellence and strategic growth, continue to shape the landscape of legal services, making them invaluable assets for clients worldwide. As they navigate the intricate and ever-evolving legal landscape, these top law firms remain steadfast in their pursuit of justice and the resolution of complex legal matters.