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An Update on Law Firm Market Share

Over the past two years, more than 2,500 SEC registered companies disclosed material federal civil litigation.1 With over 1,600 different law firms representing these companies, the competition for litigation market share remains tight.

In our previous law firm market share analysis, we cited a New York Times article that painted the picture of the law firm landscape in 2017.

“Beyond that, the top-drawer firms are increasingly jostling with one another to win lucrative legal work. It is getting tougher for firms to hang onto traditional portfolios of corporate business and avoid elbowing from rivals.”

While the competition for litigation market share is still tight, it has slightly decreased since that time – a result of continued merger and acquisition activity.

Consecutive record-setting amounts of law firm acquisitions have taken place, with 106 law firms being acquired in 2018 and 115 being acquired in 2019. Larger firms have continued their strategy of acquiring smaller firms in order to expand their global footprint.

From January 1, 2018 to December 31, 2019, Latham & Watkins LLP represented 130 companies, totaling 5.1% of this market – the highest amount in the two years analyzed.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, a close second, represented 110 companies (4.3% of the market share), between 2018 and 2019.

Rounding out the top ten, Kirkland & Ellis LLP – who, just last week won a $765 million verdict for Motorola’s intellectual property case – represented 70 companies, accounting for 2.7% of this market.

Looking at the litigation taxonomies among cases represented by these top ten firms, the majority of lawsuits were securities class actions; intellectual property cases were the next most prominent.

1. This population includes companies that are, or were at one time, registered with the SEC and had open litigation in 2018 and 2019.

This analysis was performed using the Litigation database powered by Audit Analytics.

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