DLA Piper tops global litigation ranking with turnover of $1bn

DLA Piper billed more than $1bn on litigation and international arbitration matters last year, data published in this year’s The Lawyer Global Litigation Top 50 reveals.

Bob Mathias
Bob Mathias

The firm tops the top 50 litigation table for the first time with a total disputes revenue of $1011.1m, displacing Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom, which posted $974.2m.

During the financial period analysed by The Lawyer the top 50 largest litigation practices in the world generated $23.05bn in total, an 8 per cent rise on the previous year’s total of $21.32bn.

While DLA Piper secured the top spot in terms of total revenue, its $720,000 revenue per litigation lawyer (RPLL) figure was significantly lower than that of many of the other firms in the table, notably Skadden, which posted an RPLL of more than double DLA Piper’s at $1.69m.

“One of our goals is to get that number [RPLL] up,” said Bob Mathias, the joint global leader and US chair of DLA Piper’s litigation practice. “In fact at our recent litigation practice group conference a few weeks ago that was one of the things [Mathias’ co-head] Steve Sly and I talked about.”

In total, 12 firms posted a RPLL of $1m or more, with Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer being the sole UK representative among the million-dollar dozen.

At the other end of the scale new entrant Clydes & Co takes 50th place on the RPLL metric with $540,000, with its $316.4m total litigation revenue being generated by 590 lawyers worldwide. Clydes does, however, make the table this year for the first time while other UK-headquartered firms, notably Allen & Overy and Linklaters, have disappeared.

This year The Lawyer has reflected the continued growth in litigation globally with a significantly expanded top 50 report.

Today’s eight-page feature in The Lawyer will be followed next Monday by a Global Litigation Top 50 report available in pdf format that will look in more detail at the world’s litigation market and the lawyers that are playing leading roles on the key cases.

It includes a focus on some of the key disputes centres around the globe (Geneva, Hong Kong, London, New York, Paris, Singapore and Washington); a round-up of the key cases in the most active areas such as TMT, energy, antitrust and international arbitration; and a focus on the clients that pay the bills of the firms in the table, with the thoughts on current litigation trends of some of the world’s top clients including Siemens, Nokia and Shell.