Each year, Corporate Counsel compiles a list of the law firms that Fortune 100 companies use as outside counsel. This year, to change things up a bit, it seems like the list has been expanded to cover the entire Fortune 500. From Apple to Yahoo, and every billion-dollar company in between, these corporate clients expect nothing short of the best in terms of legal representation when dealing with high-stakes litigation and deals. If you’re looking to line your firm’s pockets, you better head to the RFP line when these companies seek lawyers.

Up until last year, only the most prominent Biglaw firms (like Cleary, Davis Polk, Cravath, and Simpson Thacher) topped the list of those that had the pleasure of doing business with the country’s biggest companies. Things changed rapidly, however, when Big Business tried to cash in on deals for legal services. The firms that were willing to cave to the pressure of providing alternative fee arrangements won in a big way, and the rest were left in the dust.

Have these prestigious firms changed their ways? Is Corporate America again willing to open its fat wallet for them? Let’s find out…

Sorry to burst your bubble, but the answer is no. Thanks to the “new normal,” these companies are no longer interested in paying top dollar to firms that would otherwise strive to “churn that bill.” There are different fee structures to be had elsewhere, and those are exactly what Fortune 500 companies want.

Once again, Corporate Counsel relied upon court filings and other public records to glean the information used for this ranking. In-house counsel from companies across the Fortune 500 believe these are the firms with the most “savvy, guts, and firepower to put out … most litigation fires.” Do you agree?

Top 5 Firms with the Most Mentions

1. Ogletree Deakins: 170 mentions
2. Littler Mendelson: 162 mentions
3. Jackson Lewis: 118 mentions
4. Morgan Lewis: 110 mentions
5. Seyfarth Shaw: 86 mentions

If you’re obsessed with prestige, only two of Vault’s top 15 law firms made the overall “most mentions” list: Kirkland & Ellis (52 mentions) and Gibson Dunn (47 mentions). Do Biglaw’s best need to do things differently, or is there another explanation? There may be a practice-area bias here: the top five firms all have strong practices in labor and employment, but this is a field that many top firms don’t focus on.

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 500 companies use here. Is there anything shocking or surprising in these results? Feel free to send us an email, or leave your thoughts in the comments. Thanks!

Who Represents America’s Biggest Companies 2013 [Corporate Counsel]
Who Reps 2013: Top of the Charts [Corporate Counsel]
Who Reps 2013: The Fortune 500 [Corporate Counsel]

Earlier: Who Represents America’s Biggest Companies?


comments sponsored by

19 comments (hidden for your protection) Show all comments