Global Litigation Top 50: The risers and fallers revealed

Squire Sanders and Mayer Brown have emerged as the biggest fallers in the main table contained in this year’s Global Litigation Top 50 report (9 December 2013), The Lawyer’s exclusive analysis of the world’s top 50 litigation practices by revenue.

The US firms slipped seven and nine places respectively in the table, which is ranked by the amount of litigation and arbitration revenue a firm produces worldwide.

McDermott Will & Emery and Clifford Chance also dropped down the table, both falling by four places.

Dechert, which fell in 2012 after posting a 6.7 per cent in revenue, slipped again this year, dropping two places to 48th place despite posting a 3 per cent rise in total litigation fee income.

In contrast, Squire Sanders, one of last year’s biggest risers with a 37.2 per cent increase, saw a 9.2 per cent reversal, from $341m to $309.6m, pushing it down the list.

Among the biggest risers this year are: Covington & Burling, which rises from 40th to 33rd with a 19 per cent increase in litigation fee income to $370.5m; White & Case, which rose from 25th to 17th; and Herbert Smith Freehills, which rose from 39th to 30th.

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan continued its role as a bellwether for the world’s disputes market, climbing consistently up the rankings from joint 21st in 2008, with a litigation revenue of $385m, to fifth this year ($835.5m), a 117 per cent rise in five years.

The firm posted another double-digit rise in fee income in 2012, the most recent full financial year for the US firms that dominate this list (for UK firms the financial year under consideration is 2012/13). The US litigation boutique’s disputes-related fee income rose by 15.4 per cent last year, from $724m to $835.5m.

Further down this year’s table  – a new entry at number 44 – comes the first appearance of one of Quinn Emanuel’s biggest rivals, Boies Schiller & Flexner, which posted an estimated litigation revenue of $285.3m.

Earlier this year Boies Schiller followed Quinn Emanuel’s lead by launching in the UK, snaring Bingham McCutchen partner Natasha Harrison to launch its first non-US office (7 October 2013).

Vinson & Elkins, Debevoise & Plimpton and the now-defunct Dewey & Leboeuf fall out of this year’s table to be replaced by Boies Schiller, Hunton & Williams and Allen & Overy.

The world’s top 50 litigation practices generated a record $24.3bn (£14.9bn) last year, The Lawyer’s Global Litigation Top 50 report revealed.

The Global Litigation Top 50, which The Lawyer has produced since 2008 and which this year also includes exclusive in-house research, is available for download at or via Craig Belson on +44 (0)207 943 8049.