BigLaw firms generate a large and growing revenue in the United States. The top 100 U.S. BigLaw firms generated a combined gross revenue of 98.75 billion U.S. dollars in 2018. In comparison, the total legal services market in the U.S. was estimated at 101.8 billion U.S. dollars in 2018, although it should be noted that the revenue of the top 100 law firms include some revenue streams generated internationally. In 2018, the highest-grossing BigLaw firm in the United States was Kirkland with 3.76 billion U.S. dollars, followed by Latham, Baker McKenzie, DLA Piper and Skadden Arps.
In terms of the number of lawyers employed, there is some cross over between the top BigLaw firms but also some differences. With 4,720 lawyers, Baker McKenzie employs the most lawyers, followed by DLA Piper, Norton Rose, Hogan Lovells and Latham & Watkins. This difference between the top firms by revenue versus headcount is likely related, at least in part, to the extent to which current industry trends aimed at increasing efficiency have been implemented. For example, in 2017, 36.6 percent of laws firms stated they were shifting work to contract and temporary lawyers, while 33.4 percent stated they were shifting work to paraprofessionals, and 51.1 percent said they were using technology to replace human resources in 2018. All these measures have the potential to increase the revenue generated by BigLaw firms without a need for their headcount to increase at the same rate.