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Researching Lawyers & Legal Employers

Finding Organizations That . . .

You often want to find organizations that have certain characteristics—doing a type of work, in a given location, with a certain office size. This section gets you started.

NALP Directory of Legal Employers

Why Students Should Use the NALP Directory (video from NALP)

NALP logoThe NALP Directory of Legal Employers contains detailed information about more than 1,000 legal employers. It is strongest for private firms in major cities.

(There are search options for government and public interest, but you are referred to NALP's PSJD.org site. There's also a search option for Corporate, but it has only a couple of listings.)

You can search by employer name, type of employer, location, office size, practice area, and more.

You can compare firms on various measures—e.g., diversity, pro bono hours, or number of summer associates hired.

 

Biggest Firms: The Am Law 100

The Am Law 100 (compiled by The American Lawyer and reported in partner publications like The National Law Journal) lists the biggest firms by revenue, number of lawyers, profits per partner, and so on. You'll regularly see firms like DLA Piper Verein ($2.6 billion in revenue in 2017), Cleary Gottlieb ($1.2 billion in revenue in 2017), and Paul, Weiss ($1.3 billion).

The American Lawyer's website has a paywall, but American Lawyer is on Lexis. Search for am law 100 in the headline and you'll get lots of stories. It used to be that tables weren't included in Lexis, but now they are. The Am Law 100 at a Glance, Am. Law. (May 1, 2018) on Lexis  not only displays a table but offers the option of downloading it as an Excel spreadsheet.

Biggest Firms: The NLJ 500

The National Law Journal surveys big firms each year, creating The NLJ 500. In addition to the main list, NLJ offers articles analyzing the data (e.g., commenting on growth or the status of women in NLJ firms). 

(UW Law has a site license to the National Law Journal. If you follow links to NLJ's sister publications, you'll often encounter paywalls—but there's lots of content within NLJ!)

Finding Firms in a Size Range

The very biggest firms are easy to find, for instance, in the Am Law 100.

Job hunters sometimes find it harder to find the firms in smaller ranges: e.g., under 50 lawyers or under 10 laywers. This section tells you how.

Tip: If want a career in solo or small practices, look into student memberships in the King County Bar Association Solo/Small Firms Section and the Washington State Bar Association Solo & Small Practice Section. Note that you can search the WSBA Directory by section membership, including the Solo & Small Practice Section.

The NALP Directory lets you search by

  • Office Size Range (25 and fewer, 26-100, 101-200, 201-500, 501-700, 700+)
  • Employer Size Range (25 and fewer, 26-100, 101-200, 201-500, 501-700, 700+)

Keep in mind, the NALP Directory only includes employers who have submitted data to NALP. Larger, national firms are more likely than smaller ones to submit this data, which can cause the Directory to skew towards larger organizations. However, office size and employer size can be dramatically different. For example, K&L Gates's employer size is 700+, but the Austin office has only 11 lawyers.

In Martindale.com, run your search from the homepage (e.g., Spokane personal injury). Select Categories: Law Firms from the options in the upper left of the results page. You will then be able to filter by firm size. For example, you could skip the 104 solo lawyers and the 43 firms with 2-9 lawyers and just look at the 10 with 10-49 lawyers.

screen snip Martindale firm size filter

In West Legal Directory, run a search (e.g., looking for city = tulsa), then filter by Firm Size or Office Size. (A large firm might have several offices of different sizes.)

screen snip West Legal Directory firm size filter

 

If you like advanced searching, you can include the size in your search with the RANGE field restrictor:

  • cy(tulsa) & ra(11-25) ("cy" is the field restrictor for city.)
  • cy(portland) & st(or) & ra(11-25) ra(26-50)

The possible ranges are 1, 2-10, 11-25, 26-50, 51-100, 101-250, 251-500, and 501+

Comparing Firms

Sample search:

City: Seattle
State: Washington
Office Size
Range: 26-100
Practice Areas: Banking/Finance and Business/Corporate

This search generated 9 results. Check the ones you'd like to compare—e.g., Gordon Thomas Honeywell LLP, Miller Nash Graham & Dunn LLP, and Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt. Then click Compare.

screen snip list of firms with check boxes

The next screen will show you various options: Demographics (number of partners, associates, other lawyers, and summer associates), Diversity (attorney gender, race, etc.), Attorney Hiring Information, and so on. After you choose an option, you get a report comparing the firms. For example, choosing the option for number of offers made for 2017, we find that Gordon Thomas considered 0 2Ls and made 0 offers, Miller Nash considered 3 and made 3 offers, and Schwabe considered 2 and made 2 offers.

screen snip NALP report comparing number of offers to 2Ls from 3 firms

Sample search:

san francisco

filter:

Business Law, Commercial Law
Firm size: 10-25, 25-49

Result: 117 firms

Select firms to compare by clicking in the "Add to Compare" box (maximum 3 at a time). Click Compare. You get a chart showing each firm's founding year, office location, practice areas, and so on. Note that you need to click again (on the downward pointing angle, ˅) to get details.

screen snip Martindale report comparing 2 firms

 

Finding Nonprofits That . . .

PSJD logoPSJD is a terrific resource for all aspects of the public-service job hunt, from learning about types of practice to finding tips to researching potential employers to seeing job ads. Registration is free if you attend or graduated from one of the sponsoring law schools—basically, any US law school.

(Employers can also create profiles.)

To find public interest groups, choose Search Jobs & Employers, then click on Advanced Search. Choose Employer Profiles (later you can search Job Postings). You can search by Location (e.g., WA or Yakima or 98101), Employer Name, Employer Type, Practice Area.

Sample searches:

  • Location: CA; Employer Type: Public Defender's Office (119 results)
  • Location: WA; Employer Type: Civil Legal Aid (51 results)
  • Practice Areas: Children's Rights, Family, LGBTQ Issues, Women's Rights (3,775 results)
  • Location: MT; Practice Area: Indian or Tribal Law (9 results)
  • Employer Type: Other Government - State, Other Government - Local; Practice Areas: Food and Drug, Health, Housing (210 results)

For each organization, you'll find a brief profile (with contact information) and a link to the organization's website.