15+ Top Law Firms in 2023

15+ Top Law Firms in 2023 was originally published on Forage.

The top law firms include some of the most well-known and prestigious companies in law. These firms offer corporate, commercial, and public legal services to clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to high-net-worth individuals. We’ve compiled a list of the top U.S. law firms and the top firms internationally, ranked by gross revenue based on research from Law.com, powered by ALM Intelligence.

Revenue isn’t everything, though, so we’ve included information on how these firms fare according to Vault’s 2024 survey, which polls attorneys and asks them to rank firms based on reputation and prestigiousness.

Top Law Firms by Revenue

1. Kirkland & Ellis

Founded: 1909 in Chicago, Illinois
Gross Revenue: $6.5 billion

Founded in 1909 in Chicago, Kirkland & Ellis has grown to be the largest firm in the world by revenue, and it was even the first law firm to ever reach $4 annual billion in revenue.

Kirkland & Ellis employs around 3,500 attorneys worldwide and offers services in areas like private equity, mergers and acquisitions (M&A), corporate transactions, white-collar and government disputes, and intellectual property issues. According to Vault’s survey of the most prestigious firms, Kirkland & Ellis ranks seventh in the world for 2024.

2. Latham & Watkins

Founded: 1934 in Los Angeles, California
Gross Revenue: $5.3 billion

While Latham & Watkins was initially founded in Los Angeles, the multinational firm is decentralized and has no singular headquarters. However, by number of attorneys, its largest office is in New York City.

Latham & Watkins works in practically all practices and industries, including banking, intellectual property, technology, privacy and data security, tax law, antitrust and competition, real estate, and environmental disputes. The firm ranks fourth for prestige, according to Vault.

3. DLA Piper

Founded: 2005 by merger
Gross Revenue: $3.7 billion

DLA Piper resulted from a 2005 merger between Gray Cary Ware & Freidenrich based in San Diego, Piper Rudnick from Baltimore, and the UK firm DLA. In a Swiss Verein structure, DLA Piper operates as two partnerships, a UK-based firm called DLA Piper International and the U.S.-based DLA Piper LLP.

Between its two partnerships, DLA Piper has 80 offices in more than 40 countries. The firm practices in areas like arbitration, trade, corporate crime, energy, hospitality, M&A, securities, and tax law. According to Vault’s survey, DLA Piper ranks in the top 50 at spot #37.

4. Baker McKenzie

Founded: 1949 in Chicago, Illinois
Gross Revenue: $3.3 billion

Baker McKenzie was founded and is still headquartered in Chicago. While it ranks as one of the top firms by annual gross revenue, Baker McKenzie also consistently ranks as one of the largest firms by headcount, employing over 6,500 lawyers. The firm operates in practically every industry, including consumer goods, energy, health care, tourism, corporate law, private equity, and telecommunications. Vault puts Baker McKenzie in 35th place for prestigiousness.

5. Dentons

Founded: 2013 by merger
Gross Revenue: Over $3.0 billion

Dentons was founded in 2013 after a merger between SNR Denton, co-headquartered in London and Washington, DC, Canadian firm Fraser Milner Casgrain, and the Paris law firm Salans. The firm then merged again in 2015 with Chinese firm Dacheng, which made it (at the time) the largest firm by number of global offices and attorneys.

Dentons has a formidable global presence, with more than 160 offices in over 80 countries. The firm specializes in financial services, corporate finance, government contracts, immigration, insurance, public international law, and trusts and estates. According to Vault, Dentons ranks 58th in the world for prestige.

6. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom

Founded: 1948 in New York City, New York
Gross Revenue: $3.0 billion

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, often shortened to simply Skadden, was founded in 1948 in New York City. In 1987, it began its journey toward being a prominent multinational firm by opening its first international office in Tokyo.

Skadden primarily handles corporate transactions, but the firm also represents clients in cases dealing with artificial intelligence, private equity, national security, employment law, and antitrust and competition law. Skadden is one of the most prestigious firms, according to Vault, ranked third in its most recent survey.

7. Sidley Austin

Founded: 1866 in Chicago, Illinois
Gross Revenue: $2.9 billion

Sidley Austin is one of the oldest firms on the list, founded in 1866 in Chicago. The firm employs over 2,000 attorneys and has offices in the U.S., UK, China, and Germany, and offers specialized services in Korea, Latin America, the Middle East, and Indonesia.

As a general practice firm, Sidley Austin handles a wide variety of cases and disputes, including commercial real estate, corporate transactions, M&A, and antitrust law. Notable alumni of Sidley Austin include Barack and Michelle Obama, and the firm is ranked 11th for prestige by Vault.

8. White & Case

Founded: 1901 in New York City, New York
Gross Revenue: $2.8 billion

Wall Street lawyers Justin DuPratt White and George B. Case founded White & Case in 1901. These founders pulled together $250 each (around $9,000 adjusted for inflation to 2023 dollars) to launch their own private firm, and it has since grown to one of the top law firms in the U.S. and globally.

The firm deals with industries like fintech, technology, pharmaceuticals, manufacturing, debt finance, and energy, and, in 2020, White & Case hired specialized attorneys to become a destination for special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs). White & Case is ranked 16th by Vault.

9. Morgan, Lewis & Bockius

Founded: 1873 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Gross Revenue: $2.74 billion

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius is commonly referred to as Morgan Lewis. The firm specializes in various industries, including aerospace and defense, education, financial services, life sciences, e-commerce, and transportation.

Morgan Lewis has more than 30 offices worldwide, and its clients include both Fortune 100 corporations and startups. The firm has also represented some prominent politicians over the years, including Al Gore, Barack Obama, Hilary Clinton, and John Kerry. According to Vault, Morgan Lewis ranks 33rd for prestigiousness.

10. Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher

Founded: 1890 in Los Angeles, California
Gross Revenue: $2.73 billion

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher is an international law firm founded in California that operates 20 offices across North America, the Middle East, Europe, and Asia. While the firm is particularly well-known for its litigation and appellate law practices, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher also handles cases in emerging companies and startups; betting, gambling, and gaming; media and entertainment law; health care; and consumer products.

Famously, Gibson, Dunn, & Crutcher represented Mark Zuckerberg in his contract dispute against Paul Ceglia (who was represented by #3 on our list, DLA Piper). Based on Vault’s survey, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher ranks 10th in the world for prestige.

11. Ropes & Gray

Founded: 1865 in Boston, Massachusetts
Gross Revenue: $2.72 billion

The oldest firm on our list, Ropes & Gray was founded in 1865 in Boston. It has since expanded to 13 offices with over 1,500 attorneys. Ropes & Gray’s main industries are asset management, health care and life sciences, private equity, and investment banking. The firm famously advised the largest SPAC merger in history when ride-share and delivery company Grab merged with Altimeter Growth Corporation in 2021. Ropes & Gray comes in at 19th on Vault’s ranking.

12. Allen & Overy

Founded: 1930 in London, England
Gross Revenue: $2.6 billion

Allen & Overy operates 45 offices across 31 countries. The firm gained recognition and a reputation after co-founder George Allen advised King Edward VIII during the king’s abdication scandal in 1936.

As of 2023, Allen & Overy is in the process of a merger with the New York City firm Shearman and Sterling. After the merger, the combined firm will be one of the largest by headcount, with more than 4,000 attorneys worldwide. The firm will also have an annual revenue exceeding $3 billion.

Allen & Overy takes on cases in areas like automotive, banking, communications, manufacturing, energy, real estate, and technology and M&A law. It’s ranked 50th by Vault’s survey.

13. Clifford Chance

Founded: 1987 by merger
Gross Revenue: $2.55 billion

Established as a merger of London-based firms Clifford-Turner, founded in 1802, and Coward Chance, founded in 1900, Clifford Chance is now one of the largest firms in the UK. The firm has 32 offices and over 3,000 attorneys worldwide.

Clifford Chance advises clients across a broad range of industries, including banking and finance, capital markets, M&A, dispute resolution, climate change, and pensions. Additionally, in 1992, Clifford Chance became the first firm outside the U.S. to practice U.S. law. According to Vault, the firm ranks 42nd for prestigiousness.

14. Jones Day

Founded: 1893 in Cleveland, Ohio
Gross Revenue: $2.53 billion

Though founded in Cleveland, Jones Day now calls Washington, DC home. The firm employs around 2,300 attorneys across 40 offices worldwide. As a full-service corporate law firm, Jones Day handles clients dealing with complex transactions, high-stakes litigation, cybersecurity issues, capital markets activities, intellectual property rights, regulatory compliance, and tax issues.

Jones Day has also represented many Fortune 500 companies, including Goldman Sachs and McDonald’s. According to Vault, Jones Day ranks 25th for prestigiousness.

15. Hogan Lovells

Founded: 2010 by merger
Gross Revenue: $2.4 billion

Founded in 2010 as a merger of the UK-based firm Lovells and American firm Hogan & Hartson, Hogan Lovells is one of the largest firms in the world by headcount, employing around 2,500 attorneys globally. The firm operates over 50 offices and specializes in corporate finance, regulatory law, dispute resolution, intellectual property, media, and technology cases. Hogan Lovells is ranked 28th by Vault.

Top Law Firms by Prestige

Each year, Vault polls lawyers, asking them to assess the reputation and perceived prestige of firms they currently don’t work for. Attorneys responded to the most recent survey between January and March 2023, and the results of the poll rank the following as the top five most prestigious firms in the world for 2024:

  • Cravath, Swaine & Moore
  • Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz
  • Skadden
  • Latham & Watkins
  • Sullivan & Cromwell

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