Growth hits five-year high at Asia’s largest law firms

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The Lawyer’s latest data reveals a 15 per cent boost in lawyer numbers at the 100 largest firms in Asia to a five-year high in 2016.

The Lawyer Asia Pacific 100 2017, an annual report on the region’s largest 100 firms which comes out today, reveals that the total number of lawyers grew from 38,967 in 2015 to 44,627. It follows a year of decreased lawyer headcount in 2015, when this group of firms collectively had 38,967 lawyers, a 3 per cent dip from the 2014 sum.

This year’s top 100 firms come from 12 different jurisdictions. China remains the most represented country with 37 of the top 100 firms. Australia comes second with 22, and India is third with 12.

Geographic expansion is one of the reasons behind the top 100 firms’ headcount growth. Almost a third of them (32) have opened one or more new offices. Some of these new openings are outside of these firms’ home jurisdictions.

Chinese firms are leading the league table of the fastest growing independent firms.

Beijing-headquartered Yingke, for example, continues to top the list with 4,650 lawyers in 2016. It is also the fastest growing firm by lawyer number, having posted a 93 per cent surge in its number of lawyers and almost doubled the total of 2,415 lawyers in 2015.

Apart from 12 Chinese firms, several firms from India, Australia and New Zealand are also ranked as the 20 fastest expanding firms.

Of this year’s top 100, 44 firms provided their annual turnover figures. This set of data shows that the largest Chinese firms have also experienced strong growth in revenue.

Ashurst’s Chinese strategic ally Guantao tops the fastest growing firms by revenue list with an 80 per cent revenue increase in 2016. This was largely thanks to its recent three-way merger in Shanghai.

Thanks to their stellar revenue growth, four more Chinese firms have made it into this year’s Global 200, an annual ranking of the world’s 200 largest firms by revenue. The new entrants are Yingke, which saw a 60 per cent hike, AllBright (up 37 per cent), Grandall (up 22 per cent) and JunHe (up 16 per cent). Together with Allens, Clayton Utz, King & Wood Mallesons, Kim & Chang, Zhong Lun and Bae Kim & Lee, they form the 10-strong Asia-Pacific squad in the 2017 Global 200.

Collectively, the top 100 group has become bigger. However, this year’s Asia-Pacific 100 data shows that not all 100 firms have expanded their legal teams. While 64 firms reported an increase in their lawyer headcount, 25 saw a decrease and seven stayed flat.

Australia and China, the two most represented country in the Top 100, also sees the largest number of shrinking firms. The four biggest Singaporean firms have reported a rather challenging year, as two of them reported a decrease in lawyer headcount. South Korean firms, although have grown their lawyer headcount, reported a largely stagnant year. In contrast, most of the large firms from China, India and Japan boasted a strong year in 2016.

Top 10 Fastest growing local firms by lawyers, 2015-16

Firm Country Number of lawyers 2015 Number of lawyers 2016 % Change
Yingke China 2,415 4,650 93%
Beijing DHH China 671 1,154 72%
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan India 239 365 53%
Longan China 562 850 51%
Tahota China 401 590 47%
Hall & Wilcox Australia 170 250 47%
AZB & Partners India 340 475 40%
AllBright China 1,229 1,661 35%
Guanghe China 389 519 33%
Commerce & Finance China 139 180 29%

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Independents-by-Juristiction_Asia-Pacific-100

The Lawyer Asia Pacific 100 2017 is the fifth edition of The Lawyer’s annual ranking and analysis on the region’s largest 100 law firms by lawyer number. The report examines in great detail the performance and development of this group of firms in 2016 across a range of aspects, such as lawyer and partner headcount growth, revenue growth, geographical expansion, practice strengths, growth strategy, structural changes and innovative initiatives in the face of intensifying competition in the region.

The 85-page report consists of unrevealed data on Asia Pacific’s largest 100 firms, and in-depth analysis on the key trends, challenges and opportunities in each of the seven main jurisdictions, Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Singapore and South Korea.

To purchase a full copy please contact Gilberto Esgaio on +44 (0) 207 970 4191 or email gilberto.esgaio@centaurmedia.com

The post Growth hits five-year high at Asia’s largest law firms appeared first on The Lawyer | Legal News and Jobs | Advancing the business of law.



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