The 2011 California 50
California Lawyer

The 2011 California 50

Survey of The State’s Largest Law Firms

September 2011


Related Articles

Who's Working Part Time and Where September 2011

Comment



Print

Reprint

When it comes to headcounts, the largest firms in California are doing better than they were in 2010. The average number of California lawyers in the state's 50 biggest firms crept upward by 1.5 percent last year.

Nationwide, the employment picture in the legal industry is decidedly mixed. Legal services lost 2,600 positions in June, but then added 4,000 jobs in July, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Hiring by law firms and corporate legal departments definitely picked up from 2009," says Matt Feuer, cofounder of legal search firm McClure & Feuer in San Francisco. "But the million-dollar question was, were the gains sustainable?"

Still, some firms are hiring more legal staff this year. As expected during a downturn, that growth is foreseen mainly in the areas of bankruptcy, foreclosure, litigation, and general commercial law. "I've seen more corporate associate openings, and recently a small uptick in real estate positions," he says. Despite the recession, "there were more IPOs this year than in the last couple years, which is a good sign."

With neither dramatic gains nor losses, the three firms at the top of the chart hold the same rankings they did last year: Latham & Watkins as number 1, followed by Morrison & Foerster, and then Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith. With 13 additional attorneys, Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton moved up to fourth place, bumping O'Melveny & Myers down to fifth after it lost 17 attorneys. This year, with firms tied for six of the rankings, the 50th firm is number 44 in size.

Fully half of this year's California 50 hired more attorneys. Sidley Austin made the most new hires (33), followed by DLA Piper (29), Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (29), and Best Best & Krieger (21). When Howrey (last year's 37th-largest firm) dissolved, many of its lawyers went to California 50 firms such as Jones Day, which recruited 20 ex-Howrey partners and associates. And most of Best Best & Krieger's new hires came from the now-defunct Sacramento firm McDonough Holland & Allen.

But nearly half of the firms on this year's California 50 list shed attorneys. Bingham McCutchen lost the most (22), followed by Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati (20), and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and O'Melveny & Myers (both 17). Two firms - Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton and Cox, Castle & Nicholson, 46th and 49th last year-dropped out of the rankings altogether.

For the first time in recent years, our survey broke out data on part-time attorneys at the California 50.

 

2011 Survey of the State's Largest Law Firms

 

Rank Last Year Firm

Attorneys in CA

Attorneys Firmwide

CA Partners, 2011

CA Partners, 2010

CA Minority Partners

CA Women Partners

2011

2010

2011

2010

Equity

Nonequity

Equity

Nonequity

2011

2010

2011

2010

1

1

Latham & Watkins

625

624

2000

2000

196N

195N

19

18

34

33

2

2

Morrison & Foerster

543

546

1078

1100

186E

184E

26

25

41

41

3

3

Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith

501

501

787

765

66

237

65

234

54

41

98

95

4

5

Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton

458

445

565

532

71

121

71

121

15

14

35

34

5

4

O?Melveny & Myers

445

462

808

882

118R

122W

13

R

19

18

6

6

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher

424

441

1023

1050

134N

138N

11

11

20

23

7

7

Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati

410

430

600

610

127E

132E

26

35

26

26

8

8

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe

398

369

1129

1100

152E

163E

16

22

30

32

9

11

DLA Piper

355

326

4200

3500

159E

156E

21

22

25

29

10

9

Cooley

346

355

621

650

128E

133R

16

16

34

33

11

12

Jones Day

323

311

2408

2491

140E

123E

13

13

24

23

12

10

Paul Hastings

321

331

962

1018

78

27

80

30

15

14

20

19

13

13

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman

294

305

680

696

83

68

84

69

15

15

33

33

14

15

Gordon & Rees

286

283

439

393

30

97

27

104

14

12

27

27

15

14

Bingham McCutchen

281

303

1075

1114

107E

113E

10

11

27

28

16

16

Reed Smith

265

258

1632

1612

56

76

53

78

25

26

32

31

17

19

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan

258

243

472

409

69

20

63

21

7

7

18

14

18

17

Manatt, Phelps & Phillips

251

257

339

331

50

100

54

95

14

11

34

31

19

20

Littler Mendelson

248

235

830

760

101

34

92

37

19

15

43

40

20

18

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius

246

249

1355

1268

83N

90N

13

15

25

27

21

22

Fenwick & West

240

231

264

251

91E

85E

8

10

16

13

22T

21

Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear

235

234

253

249

116

1

107

X

19

X

21

18

22T

25

Sidley Austin

235

202

1647

1617

100E

95E

13

11

32

29

24

23

Allen Matkins Leck Gamble Mallory & Natsis

223

223

223

223

111

25

114

19

10

10

19

17

25

24

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom

216

212

1886

1890

50E

49E

5

4

5

5

26

26

Seyfarth Shaw

200

200

794

748

45

40

42

44

8

7

22

22

27

32

Best Best & Krieger

196

175

196

175

60

34

67

14

14

10

29

20

28

28

Greenberg Traurig

195

191

1721

1785

100N

81N

11

11

16

15

29

27

Sedgwick

188

197

364

367

69N

68N

8

8

16

17

30

31

Kirkland & Ellis

181

178

1371

1373

76R

75N

14

17

18

19

31T

29

Irell & Manella

173

189

173

189

61E

67

E

8

10

8

9

31T

30

Munger, Tolles & Olson

173

182

173

182

91E

94N

16

15

17

16

33

35

Hanson Bridgett

157

150

157

150

63

22

57

21

13

10

24

23

34

34

McDermott Will & Emery

152

151

992

972

37

45

36

57

15

18

12

14

35

39

Rutan & Tucker

151

145

151

145

91N

70

20

5

5

10

10

36

33

Luce, Forward, Hamilton & Scripps

144

158

144

158

59

30

63

33

2

3

15

14

37

S

Perkins Coie

142

S

792

S

20

40

S

S

8

S

12

S

38T

41

Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo

140

133

140

133

23

47

20

41

16

14

18

14

38T

43

Winston & Strawn

140

130

1020

920

31

22

30

25

10

10

15

15

40

36

Buchalter Nemer

138

149

152

164

73E

75E

6

7

15

16

41

44T

Loeb & Loeb

135

129

314

305

16

58

18

50

3

3

13

13

42T

47

Downey Brand

133

126

139

130

59E

53E

1

1

11

11

42T

49T

K&L Gates

133

119

1825

1863

78R

R

68

5

7

15

11

44

42

Farella Braun + Martel

131

132

131

132

71N

71N

6

5

16

16

45T

37

Foley & Lardner

130

146

892

918

61E

65

5

9

10

16

18

45T

40

Jeffer Mangels Butler & Mitchell

130

136

130

136

70N

78N

4

3

7

6

47T

S

Manning & Kass, Ellrod, Ramirez, Trester

129

S

137

S

20

26

S

S

7

S

9

S

47T

44T

Nixon Peabody

129

129

700

800

65E

67E

9

5

11

9

49

48

Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp

128

122

138

127

65E

66E

7

6

14

14

50

49T

Laughlin, Falbo, Levy & Moresi

122

119

122

119

21

7

20

7

5

4

9

8

Data as of June 30, 2011. Figures reflect the number of employed attorneys, both full and part time. R=Declined to report; S=Not surveyed in 2010; E=Equity track only; N=Does not distinguish between equity and nonequity partners; X=Data not available; T=Tied, listed alphabetically; W=From firm's website

We welcome your comments!

Name

E-mail: (will not be published)

By submitting a comment, you agree to abide by our comment policy.

Enter the characters on the left: