How big of a firm is considered "big law"?

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pleaseberkeley

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How big of a firm is considered "big law"?

Postby pleaseberkeley » Fri Jun 02, 2017 11:46 pm

And so these firms all pay over 6 figures starting out? Is 100 lawyers considered big law? Do firms of 100 lawyers typically pay 6 figures starting out?

LurkerTurnedMember

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Re: How big of a firm is considered "big law"?

Postby LurkerTurnedMember » Sat Jun 03, 2017 12:38 am

My understanding is that it's the Vault 100 firms, the ones that pay market (180k).

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UVA2B

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Re: How big of a firm is considered "big law"?

Postby UVA2B » Sat Jun 03, 2017 1:27 am

It varies entirely based on the market, the specific firm and what that firm does, and a litany of other reasons. For purposes of determining how well a school places into Biglaw that pays six figure salaries, your safest assumption is to look at firms of 101+. There are absolutely more firms in the 20-100 range that also pay market or close to it, but not at high enough of a percentage to assume those are six figure positions. And you can also pretty safely assume that the higher you go up the law school rankings rungs, the more likely those smaller firm placements are more likely to be market paying smaller firms.

cavalier1138

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Re: How big of a firm is considered "big law"?

Postby cavalier1138 » Sat Jun 03, 2017 5:48 am

LurkerTurnedMember wrote:My understanding is that it's the Vault 100 firms, the ones that pay market (180k).


It's a much larger group than that. Vault rankings have nothing to do with whether a firm is considered biglaw.

Jchance

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Re: How big of a firm is considered "big law"?

Postby Jchance » Sat Jun 03, 2017 9:02 am

Vault has a list of 150 under 150 (as in 150 firms with less than 150 lawyers), and none of those firms is considered biglaw. They are midlaw at best and mostly likely considered themselves "boutique."

I've heard cutoff numbers of 100+ (which I think is wrong), 250+, 500+, 700+. Once the firm hover around 500 (say 470), it's definitely a biglaw. People have also used the distinction of regional biglaw and national biglaw. The 700+ firm is likely a national biglaw. The 500-ish (or less) firm is more like a regional biglaw.

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UVA2B

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Re: How big of a firm is considered "big law"?

Postby UVA2B » Sat Jun 03, 2017 9:49 am

Jchance wrote:Vault has a list of 150 under 150 (as in 150 firms with less than 150 lawyers), and none of those firms is considered biglaw. They are midlaw at best and mostly likely considered themselves "boutique."

I've heard cutoff numbers of 100+ (which I think is wrong), 250+, 500+, 700+. Once the firm hover around 500 (say 470), it's definitely a biglaw. People have also used the distinction of regional biglaw and national biglaw. The 700+ firm is likely a national biglaw. The 500-ish (or less) firm is more like a regional biglaw.


Nothing about this is wrong per se IMO, but if all the OP is looking for is six figure salary paying firms, it's probably a bit too exclusionary as to how "Biglaw" is defined. I think LST has it right in calculating Biglaw scores based on 100+ attorneys. It doesn't capture all of the higher compensated firms, but the amount of those firms it misses is sufficiently small to be excluded in the calculation.

There is no way to perfectly capture all firms with over $100k+ compensation based on firm size. So whether you call it Biglaw, regional Biglaw, or midlaw is sort of arbitrary and only a minor concern in defining the term. If OP really does want to define it strictly on head count, I have no problem with how you or anyone decides to break it out.

pleaseberkeley

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Re: How big of a firm is considered "big law"?

Postby pleaseberkeley » Sat Jun 03, 2017 12:07 pm

UVA2B wrote:
Jchance wrote:Vault has a list of 150 under 150 (as in 150 firms with less than 150 lawyers), and none of those firms is considered biglaw. They are midlaw at best and mostly likely considered themselves "boutique."

I've heard cutoff numbers of 100+ (which I think is wrong), 250+, 500+, 700+. Once the firm hover around 500 (say 470), it's definitely a biglaw. People have also used the distinction of regional biglaw and national biglaw. The 700+ firm is likely a national biglaw. The 500-ish (or less) firm is more like a regional biglaw.


Nothing about this is wrong per se IMO, but if all the OP is looking for is six figure salary paying firms, it's probably a bit too exclusionary as to how "Biglaw" is defined. I think LST has it right in calculating Biglaw scores based on 100+ attorneys. It doesn't capture all of the higher compensated firms, but the amount of those firms it misses is sufficiently small to be excluded in the calculation.

There is no way to perfectly capture all firms with over $100k+ compensation based on firm size. So whether you call it Biglaw, regional Biglaw, or midlaw is sort of arbitrary and only a minor concern in defining the term. If OP really does want to define it strictly on head count, I have no problem with how you or anyone decides to break it out.



Yes for me all I care about is the 6th number.

notgreat

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Re: How big of a firm is considered "big law"?

Postby notgreat » Sat Jun 03, 2017 12:43 pm

Big enough that half of the associates are seriously considering suicide as a viable alternative to staying at the firm.

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Re: How big of a firm is considered "big law"?

Postby cavalier1138 » Sat Jun 03, 2017 1:12 pm

Jchance wrote:Vault has a list of 150 under 150 (as in 150 firms with less than 150 lawyers), and none of those firms is considered biglaw. They are midlaw at best and mostly likely considered themselves "boutique."

I've heard cutoff numbers of 100+ (which I think is wrong), 250+, 500+, 700+. Once the firm hover around 500 (say 470), it's definitely a biglaw. People have also used the distinction of regional biglaw and national biglaw. The 700+ firm is likely a national biglaw. The 500-ish (or less) firm is more like a regional biglaw.


I actually think this distinction doesn't make much sense. I've never heard a firm with 100-150 lawyers referred to as a "boutique". And there are plenty of unambiguous biglaw firms that have fewer than 500 attorneys (Wachtell, Cravath, etc.). The cutoff for biglaw is whether the firm pays market salary for biglaw (which may not be the NYC market salary, depending on region).



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