Each year, Corporate Counsel compiles a list of the firms that the Fortune 100 companies use as outside counsel. These are the firms that corporate clients turn to when they’ve got bet-the-company litigation. From Exxon Mobil to Apple to Walmart, and everywhere in between, these are the clients with the deepest of pockets, and if you care at all about the business end of the law, then this is a list that you should care about.

But this time around, the list looks a little different. Due to the state of the economy, general counsel are now looking for more ways to reduce costs, and are constantly seeking out alternative fee structures. The firms on this year’s list may have been the ones that were most amenable to such changes.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at which firms topped this year’s list….

This year, Corporate Counsel used an extremely time-consuming methodology to come up with the firms on the list. Instead of asking legal departments to self-report the data, they decided to comb through thousands of court filings. If your firm represented a Fortune 100 company in court, it got a mention on the list.

In general, this serves as a nice snapshot of who is representing our nation’s wealthiest corporations. But to be fair, if a firm was able to keep its clients out of court, it got the shaft for the purposes of this list — which might explain the curious absence of some of the usual Biglaw suspects (e.g., Cravath and S&C). An unwillingness to negotiate on fees or to explore alternative fee arrangements might also have resulted in some elite firms getting less work and therefore fewer mentions.

Here are the ten firms at the top of the list, the ones with the most mentions:

Fish & Richardson: 16 mentions
Alston & Bird: 15 mentions
Morgan Lewis: 15 mentions
DLA Piper: 12 mentions
Bryan Cave: 11 mentions
Foley & Lardner: 11 mentions
Kilpatrick Townsend: 11 mentions
Littler Mendelson: 10 mentions
Baker Hostetler: 9 mentions
Baker Botts: 9 mentions

For those of you who are obsessed with prestige, we should tell you that Skadden also had nine mentions.

You can check out Corporate Counsel’s full breakout of firms by practice area over here, and you can look at the firms that specific Fortune 100 companies use here. Is there anything shocking or surprising in these results? Send us an email, or comment. Thanks!

Who Represents America’s Biggest Companies 2012 [Corporate Counsel]
Who Reps 2012: The Fortune 100 [Corporate Counsel]
Who Reps 2012: Litigation Kings [Corporate Counsel]


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