THE SUPER RICH IS THE AM LAW 100’S MOST EXCLUSIVE
club. The entry requirements are formidably steep with firms
having to demonstrate market-leading financial performance.
This year, they’ve become even steeper.
Since the classification was first introduced in 2014, the
membership criteria have remained the same. To get beyond
the velvet rope, a firm has needed an average revenue per
lawyer (RPL) of at least $1 million and average profit per equity partner (PPP) of at least $2 million. No mean feat. At
least, it never used to be.
At first, just 20 firms made the grade. But thanks to gains
in productivity and profitability across
Big Law—and inflation—the group has
gradually expanded, rising to 24 firms
in 2015 and 28 last year.
Left unchecked, the ranks would
have swollen further this year, to 31
firms. A supposedly exclusive club that
is open to almost a third of the entire
Am Law 100 is, by definition, clearly
not exclusive enough.
As such, we have this year decided
to raise the bar. To put the “super” back into the Super Rich,
if you will.
THE NEW CRITERIA
Analyzing this year’s Am Law 100 data, it quickly becomes
clear that the Super Rich’s RPL and PPP hurdles have not
only become too low but also imbalanced, with the group
now largely determined by the profit metric.
Of the 33 Am Law 100 firms that achieved a PPP of $2
million or higher in 2016, just two failed to hit the $1 million mark for RPL: Dechert and White & Case. The RPL
benchmark, on the other hand, is now
barely higher than the Am Law 100 av-
erage, which rose 1. 7 percent last year
to $910,000. In total, 43 Am Law 100
firms have RPLs north of $1 million—
and more than a quarter of these firms
have PPPs of less than $2 million.
RPL is an excellent way to measure
a firm’s productivity and the value of the
work it handles, and is a key metric used
internally by management to assess the
RAISING THE BAR ON THE AM LAW 100’S FINANCIAL ELITE.
Redefining The Super Rich
THE NEW SUPER RICH
PROFIT PER LAWYER OF
AT LEAST $500,000 AND
RPL OF $1.1 MILLION.
BY CHRIS JOHNSON
TOP OF THE AM LAW 100