Law firm intake sizes

Intake sizes 2010-2020.png

Tracking law firm hiring over eleven years.

Since the start of the last decade in 2010, we've tracked the entry-level hiring numbers for 68 firms. As you can see in the graph above, the largest firms have suffered the most dramatic fluctuations, with a sharp post-recession decline followed by a dramatic rise since 2015, peaking at numbers equivalent to or higher than pre-recession levels. The rest of the market has remained more stable, but smaller firms haven't enjoyed the same headcount growth as their larger rivals. Over the course of the decade, the lower end of the market has contracted even as the BigLaw-wide average has increased.

The table below has individual stats for all of these 68 firms. Though overall numbers have now recovered over the course of the decade, the 2020 coronavirus outbreak caused a decline as firms looked to tighten their belts (though the numbers look lower as fewer firms have divulged numbers). However, with a record peak in 2022, it is clear the market has very much recovered.

Law firm 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Akin Gump 36 40 38 50 33 33 38 44 53 51 53 48 58
Allen & Overy 18 20 21 22 16 17 21 21 21 18 15 46 15
Alston & Bird 79 49 64 52 36 34 38 44 46 46 39 38 50
Baker Botts 38 48 48 48 40 52 64 52 56 56 56 63 44
Bracewell 33 23 19 25 34 20 23 26 17 22 22 20 12
Brown Rudnick 15 21 18 20 23 14 14 6 8 10 10 N/A 5
Cadwalader 27 26 31 39 37 34 40 32 21 30 24 25 25
Cahill Gordon 33 41 34 34 47 38 37 42 38 44 44 31 39

Choate

13 18 11 13 15 10 11 15 15 15 12 N/A 21

Cleary

110 81 93 126 99 92 90 91 120 94 92 50 82
Clifford Chance US 41 30 24 20 22 29 29 21 28 23 28 28 37

Cooley

38 30 46 48 46 44 45 53 51 54 22 91 129

Cravath

89 99 44 75 94 92 90 105 92 61 74 84 70
Crowell & Moring 21 15 14 16 18 14 11 12 20 16 16 14 19
Curtis, Mallet-Prevost 14 9 15 11 8 7 8 9 6 6 6 N/A N/A
Davis Polk 98 70 92 109 101 112 133 143 129 115 130 107 160
DLA Piper  (US) 62 53 49 50 30 35 31 32 34 51 39 36 48
Duane Morris 9 9 12 13 9 10 18 16 15 20 21 12 11

Dykema

6 5 6 12 8 16 10 10 11 16 17 11 N/A

Finnegan

27 31 28 30 25 21 24 19 22 27 17 17 9
Fish & Richardson 20 24 20 15 18 22 25 23 17 18 13 10 10
Fox Rothschild 13 13 13 12 11 12 19 24 18 42 27 21 21
Freshfields 8 15 11 7 18 17 20 22 18 18 17 22 43
Fried Frank 53 51 39 32 26 43 52 52 60 65 70 67 74
Gibson, Dunn 123 89 103 125 111 109 96 93 100 107 120 126 151

Goodwin

87 71 45 53 57 55 60 50 50 69 72 90 157
Greenberg Traurig 150 71 45 52.5 57 55 36 49 38 31 31 N/A N/A
Haynes and Boone 33 23 26 31 31 29 30 39 26 26 28 34 35
Hogan Lovells 56 86 54 58 58 57 62 72 82 73 77 51 54
Hunton Andrews 13 18 19 32 24 26 31 26 41 47 45 32 37
Irell & Manella 29 20 26 23 23 14 15 11 14 13 10 6 6
Jackson Walker 12 12 13 17 15 9 15 17 13 13 13 14 14
Jenner & Block 44 37 28 35 20 28 34 35 33 43 39 31 N/a
Jones Day 133 94 117 126 101 129 118 120 150 165 157 167 119
K&L Gates 104 63 51 70 85 67 64 51 51 48 43 48 47

Kasowitz

19 18 22 18 16 18 6 8 9 11 11 N/A 11
Katten Muchin 7 11 29 28 31 23 23 13 23 21 20 30 35
King & Spalding 43 26 15 22 31 24 27 30 35 34 54 59 62
Kirkland & Ellis 130 142 140 141 111 114 140 172 251 298 285 221 356
Kramer Levin 20 14 11 16 17 12 12 11 16 16 19 18 13
Latham & Watkins 203 131 150 115 133 104 156 181 163 160 169 184 262
Linklaters 25 20 19 26 20 23 17 13 22 17 11 16 12
Mayer Brown 94 59 30 47 49 60 68 55 50 59 40 60 73

Milbank

55 22 31 43 42 46 51 67 79 58 58 57 82
Morgan, Lewis 70 51 59 62 56 86 61 52 56 76 79 79 84
Munger, Tolles 23 17 15 14 18 17 10 24 22 25 23 29 16
Orrick 47 33 39 28 26 31 33 44 51 51 56 48 28
Patterson Belknap 11 13 16 6 6 6 17 5 2 5 5 3 6
Paul, Weiss 86 61 66 97 92 84 120 118 101 117 122 65 78
Perkins Coie 37 36 23 27 31 30 38 43 42 36 59 52 58

Pillsbury

26 26 22 23 29 25 35 37 37 29 31 37 39
Reed Smith 31 32 35 34 43 47 46 42 46 46 54 42 45
Ropes & Gray 187 216 116 126 96 108 133 152 135 167 165 N/A 154
Seward & Kissel 10 8 11 14 11 15 14 16 11 12 10 12 12
Shearman & Sterling 51 70 39 31 39 48 59 64 58 48 50 25 47
Sheppard, Mullin 28 28 26 30 31 29 32 28 30 30 33 35 55
Simpson Thacher 83 108 112 97 96 114 104 116 105 104 108 104 148

Skadden

184 92 86 135 149 186 200 188 187 165 138 N/A N/A

Stroock 

24 13 23 16 25 14 14 14 13 16 16 N/A 9
Venable 20 23 39 27 29 28 39 33 32 42 40 59 46
Vinson & Elkins 72 57 70 74 43 48 62 36 68 67 78 77 75

Waller

6 4 4 6 5 10 5 5 7 11 13 3 10
Weil, Gotshal 54 104 130 77 59 64 83 84 102 105 151 125 124
White & Case 54 104 130 77 58 55 72 93 108 111 80 75 93
Wiley 13 18 13 13 16 12 8 8 8 11 13 9 8
Willkie Farr 47 27 22 42 43 55 66 51 52 51 52 79 97
WilmerHale 88 99 85 75 105 80 49 61 75 61 82 60 77
Winston & Strawn 69 36 48 41 23 43 51 61 58 59 64 57 N/A
Total 3,602 3,124 2,993 3,130 2,975 3,055 3,303 3,402 3,568 3,672 3,688 3,008 3,817