Which Firms Do GCs Use?

Ever wonder which firms GCs think of and use most often? To follow up on our recent article “Corporate America: Who Represents Who?“, a corresponding NLJ report sheds some additional light by providing an overall ranking of firms among Fortune 100 GCs when surveyed about the firms they use most often. The rankings are certainly not perfect nor are they exhaustive. For example, they do not include metrics such as the number of cases handled, amount of legal spend, length of relationship, etc. However, they do provide a good idea of which firms have strong brand recognition among GCs and corporate execs at some of the world’s strongest companies.

The chart below lists the top 10 firms as ranked in the report, and the rankings were compiled based on how often firms were mentioned by GCs in the areas of contracts, torts, labor, IP, and patents. Not surprisingly, L&E shops did very well, accounting for the top 3 in the overall rankings:

RANK   FIRM                           MENTIONS        PPP                 AMLAW RANK
1          Ogletree Deakins           170                   $535,000           97
2          Littler Mendelson           162                   $500,000           64
3          Jackson Lewis              118                   $605,000           82
4          Morgan Lewis                110                   $1,550,000        12
5          Seyfarth Shaw               86                     $910,000           60
6          Baker Donelson             64                     $490,000           114
7          Morris Nichols               61                     —                      —
T-8        Bryan Cave                   53                     $745,000           55
T-8        McGuireWoods             53                     $945,000           51
T-8        Greenberg Traurig          53                     $1,360,000        11

The only non-AmLaw 200 firm making the top 10 is Delaware-based Morris Nichols, an 83 lawyer shop mentioned in 50 of its 61 instances in the area of patents.

It is also interesting to note the somewhat wide distribution of firms in terms of profits per partner and AmLaw rankings. In fact, 8 of the top 10 boast a PPP below $1,000,000 and an average AmLaw rank of 65. This seems to suggest something almost counterintuitive, though it makes sense considered in light of the post-recession economy—just because a firm is ranked highly or is highly profitable, that does not necessarily translate into recognition or use among Fortune 500 GCs. Accordingly, what it does confirm is the importance of perception in today’s economy—not necessarily in terms of profits or ranking, but in having a reputation of strength in certain areas.

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