‘Drastically Different’ Associate Strategies in Big Law and Midsize Firms May Continue in 2024

In the larger sense, attorney growth across the legal field all looked the same in 2023 as it did the year prior, with law firms increasing full-time equivalent lawyers by an average of about 3.3% each year.

But a closer look at head count shows large and midsize firms continued to employ “drastically different” approaches to staffing last year, according to a new industry report, “with the largest firms actively cutting back on associate headcount” while midsize law firms continued to grow them “aggressively.”

Through November, Am Law 100 firms increased their associate ranks by only 1.7%, even accounting for their fall classes, according to an annual state of the legal market report, published this week by Thomson Reuters.

Midsize firms, on the other hand, grew associate head count 11.8%. The number of first-year associates specifically was down across segments, though much more dramatically in the Am Law 100 (-15.2% relative to November 2022) versus in midsize firms (-3.2%).

Are you interested in learning more about drastically different associate strategies in big law and midsize firms and how it may continue this year? Read more in this law.com article.

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