The Best Law Firms in America

Written by Lauren Erdelyi10 minutes well spent
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Whether you’re a legal professional looking to elevate your firm’s brand and reputation or a law student exploring your options, drawing inspiration from other firms can be invaluable. However, with some 450,000 law firms in the United States, it’s easy to feel lost when navigating this vast landscape.

In this blog, we spotlight some of the best law firms in America. We’ll share the secrets to their success and offer insights to propel you forward in the legal industry.

Factors to consider when evaluating law firms 

Assessing law firms can be tricky, especially since everyone’s idea of what constitutes “the best” differs. For example, those looking to advance their legal career may value the extensive resources and opportunities offered at large law firms, while others may prioritize opportunities for meaningful community impact found in small and mid-sized firms.

Typically, three key factors come into play when assessing the top law firms in America. However, it’s worth noting that while many rankings tend to favor Big Law firms, the best law firms in America aren’t always the most widely known. In fact, it could very well be the one you’re a part of.

Reputation

A law firm’s reputation speaks volumes about the quality of services it provides. When looking to elevate your firm, pay attention to those with a proven track record of success, positive client reviews, and recognition within the legal community. Rankings and awards, such as Clio’s Reisman Awards, can further validate a firm’s excellence and offer insight into its industry standing.

Once you identify these firms, consider what specific factors make them stand out. What strengths do testimonials consistently highlight? How does the firm ensure client satisfaction? Asking questions like these can deepen your understanding of what contributes to their stellar reputation and help position your own firm as a leader in the field.

Revenue

Revenue is another important factor in assessing a law firm. It not only reflects a firm’s financial health but also its capacity to attract top talent and develop a strong client base. Explore our list of the top Big Law firms in America for more insights into those leading the way in revenue generation.

While Big Law firms dominate these rankings due to the financial data readily available, all firms should focus on building a robust revenue stream relative to their size and legal offerings. Even if you aren’t in the Big Law league, focusing on financial growth ensures you’re headed in the same direction as the best law firms in America. One way to enhance profitability is by leveraging legal technology to automate tedious tasks, allowing you to focus on more strategic, billable work.   

Resources

The services and resources accessible to both clients and employees are also common metrics for evaluating the top law firms. Bigger firms often offer a wider range of specialized services and have more resources to handle complex cases. 

That said, our research has revealed that smaller firms can be more agile and quicker to adopt competitive legal technologies. For instance, the 2024 Legal Trends for Solo and Small Law Firms report found that solo lawyers are more likely to be using artificial intelligence in their practices today, with 21% reporting usage compared to 19% of overall firms. 

As you can see, numerous factors come into play when looking at the best law firms in America. By studying these factors and aligning them with your firm’s strategies, you can move one step closer to achieving the same level of excellence as the country’s leading law firms.

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The benefits of assessing the best law firms

So far, we’ve covered a few considerations to keep in mind when evaluating other legal practices. But why should you ultimately care about the best law firms in America? Here are a few ways that gaining a stronger understanding of industry leaders can benefit you:

  • Enhances legal talent: Top law firms act as magnets for attracting the best attorneys in the United States, showcasing the skills and expertise needed to excel in the field. By understanding what sets these firms apart, other firms can better assess and enhance their own talent pools.
  • Informs career paths: Aspiring legal professionals also benefit from studying the top law firms in America, as it helps them make more informed career decisions. These firms offer unparalleled opportunities for professional growth, mentorship, and valuable insights into attractive workplace cultures.
  • Offers a model for growth: Top law firms serve as blueprints for success, providing valuable lessons on everything from effective firm management to the importance of delivering a client-centered experience. Examining these strategies can provide invaluable guidance for firms looking to scale.
  • Inspires strategies and successes: The most respected law firms are often involved in unprecedented cases and innovative legal strategies. Their approaches can provide inspiration and practical insights that can help you achieve positive outcomes in your own legal pursuits.

The best law firms in America by recommendation

It’s no secret that word of mouth holds significant influence in law. Our 2022 Legal Trends Report found that client reviews are the single most influential factor in hiring decisions. Recently, TIME and Statista recognized the 150 most recommended law firms in the country based on feedback from both lawyers and clients. 

Here are a few notable mentions from the list.

Sidley Austin LLP
Revenue: $3.1 billion
Lawyers: 2,300

Sidley Austin LLP is an elite global law firm with over 150 years of expertise. The firm represents clients in more than 70 countries, handling complex transactional, investigation, regulatory, and litigation matters.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
Revenue: $3 billion
Lawyers: 1,700

Founded in 1948, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP now boasts 21 offices, approximately 1,700 attorneys, and over 50 distinct practice areas. The firm serves clients in every major international financial center, offering specialized legal advice to companies across numerous industries.

Debevoise & Plimpton
Revenue: $1.3 billion
Lawyers: 855


Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is a premier law firm with market-leading practices, a global perspective, and strong New York roots.

Arnold & Porter
Revenue: $1.1 billion
Lawyers: 1,000+

With over 1,000 lawyers practicing in 15 offices worldwide, Arnold & Porter offers deep industry experience and an integrated approach that spans more than 40 practice areas.

Holland & Knight
Revenue: $1.8 billion
Lawyers: 2,200+

Holland & Knight is a global law firm with more than 2,200 lawyers and other professionals in 34 offices around the world. The firm provides representation in litigation, business, real estate, and governmental law.

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The best law firms in America by revenue and size

As we’ve mentioned, the notion of “best” can be subjective. That said, looking at a firm’s revenue and size—just like in any business—can offer a useful metric. Since these figures are readily available for Big Law firms, it’s a commonly-used method for evaluating the top firms in America.

Here are some of the top Big Law firms in the United States.

Kirkland & Ellis
Revenue: $7.2 billion
Lawyers: 3,500

Commercial litigation and other corporate interests are primary areas of focus for this international firm, which was founded in 1909 in Chicago and now has 11 offices across the US.

Latham & Watkins
Revenue: $5.5 billion
Lawyers: 3,500

This global law firm boasts offices in 14 countries, serves a high-paying clientele, and employs attorneys working in a diverse range of practice areas.

Norton Rose Fulbright
Revenue: $2.3 billion
Lawyers: 3,000+

Formed by a 2013 merger between Norton Rose and Fulbright Jaworski, this international firm with 50 locations worldwide primarily represents major corporations, financial institutions, and startups.

Baker McKenzie
Revenue: $3.3 billion
Lawyers: 4,700

Headquartered in Chicago, this general practice firm operates 77 offices across 46 countries.

White & Case
Revenue: $3.1 billion
Lawyers: 2,600+

White & Case, headquartered in New York, operates 44 offices across 30 countries. This international firm offers a general practice with notable specialization in areas like debt finance, dispute resolution, and corporate law. 

Image of report showing law firm quarterly revenue

The best law firms in America by impact

At Clio, we never fail to be inspired by the profound difference that law firms of all sizes can make. Each year, we celebrate those that have made significant contributions to their communities through the prestigious Reisman Awards.

We’re big believers that a law firm’s excellence is best measured by the quality of service it provides to its clients. While size and revenue are often prioritized in many rankings, we think it’s the impact on clients that truly distinguishes exceptional firms.

Image of Clio Reisman Awards logo

Last year, Reisman Award recipients included:

Rasa Legal – Legal Innovation

A criminal record can have a massive impact on a person’s economic mobility and perpetuate poverty across generations. Based in Salt Lake City, Utah, Rasa Legal is using software to make clearing a criminal record simple and affordable.

The Dross Law Firm, PLLC – Best New Law Firm

Arique Dross III spent most of his childhood moving from home to home in foster care and eventually became entangled with the wrong side of the law. Fast-forward to today, and he’s positively impacting the lives of clients through his new law firm, The Dross Law Firm, PLLC. Within its first year, the firm generated almost half a million dollars in revenue, doubled in size, and gained over 150 clients. 

Amara Legal Center – Community Champion

The Amara Legal Center, a nonprofit legal service organization, focuses solely on increasing access to justice for sex trafficking survivors and sex workers through free, trauma-informed legal services. The team provides specialized, client-centered representation to each survivor while working to raise awareness in the DC-metropolitan area of the indicators of sex trafficking and the resources available for survivors.

Tenet Law – Excellence in Client Service

Tenet Law, a firm specializing in fraud and financial crime advice, is challenging traditional legal services—proving smaller firms can make a big impact across the legal market. Since 2016, Tenet’s team has worked remotely without financial or billable hours targets. This allows them to spend more time focusing on delivering better, cost-effective solutions to clients. 

The Childress Firm PLLC – Diversity and Inclusion

In 2016, Jessica Childress launched the Childress Firm PLLC with a mission to provide high-quality, affordable legal representation to communities of color that may not otherwise have access to these services. In 2021, Jessica developed a diversity, equity, and inclusion tool, Intro[re]spection, which helps companies foster respect and inclusion among employees, and wrote a series of children’s books, Juris Prudence, to inspire young girls of color to pursue legal careers.

King Law Offices – Best Growth Story

Founded in 2002 by Brian King, King Law Offices started in a two-room office with a vision to create a firm that was built around business principles and taking care of clients. The firm has since become one of the largest and fastest-growing firms in the Carolinas. Over the past five years, they’ve nearly quadrupled annual revenue from $4 million to over $15 million, grown headcount to over 100 attorneys and support staff, and now manage billing for over 5,000 clients weekly.

PATH Legal – Legal Impact Award

Many individuals who have been incarcerated face a myriad of barriers to accessing the justice and advocacy that they require and deserve. Established in November 2022, PATH Legal works to mitigate this injustice experienced by so many in Nova Scotia, supporting people who are currently incarcerated and people who have suffered from miscarriage of justice at no cost.

Curious to learn about more impactful firms? The 2024 Reisman Award winners will be announced at the next Clio Cloud Conference, ClioCon 2024, on October 7–8, 2024. Be sure to secure your tickets here

Final thoughts on the best law firms in America

The top law firms in America stand out through their unwavering commitment to client satisfaction, innovative growth strategies, and meaningful contributions to their communities. They set the benchmark for success, serving as inspiration for both law firms looking to expand and aspiring legal professionals.

If you’re eager to discover more about the best law firms in America, mark your calendars for our upcoming Clio Cloud Conference, where the 2024 Reisman Awards will be announced. This event offers a unique opportunity to gain new insights, exchange ideas with industry leaders, and forge connections to help your firm reach new levels of success.

Categorized in: Clio

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