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Virginia’s Largest Law Firms 2014

LAnother year, another tough outlook for hiring among the commonwealth’s biggest law firms.

For the second year in a row, and the third time in four years, Virginia Lawyers Weekly’s survey of “Virginia’s Largest Law Firms” reports more attorney losses than gains.

The annual compilation ranks the commonwealth’s top 75 firms based on the number of Virginia-licensed attorneys working in Virginia offices as of Jan. 1, 2014.

In 2011, the Largest Law Firms survey, for the first time in its history, showed the majority of firm numbers on the downswing. While hiring rallied slightly in 2012, law firms reports showed another significant drop in 2013.

The 2014 survey shows the greatest number of attorney losses yet.

In this year’s survey, 35 firms reported fewer attorneys than in 2013. Twenty-eight firms reported gains, while another 12 firms had the same number of lawyers on staff as the previous year.

Attorney losses were the norm among Virginia’s 20 largest firms. Of these firms, only five reported more attorneys on staff compared to 2013.

The three largest firms in the commonwealth – McGuireWoods LLP, Hunton & Williams LLP and Williams Mullen – each reported a small drop in attorneys for 2014.

McGuireWoods held its top spot for the fifth year in a row. LeClairRyan, which reported a loss of 24 attorneys since last year, fell to number five. Troutman Sanders, only down two attorneys, once again became fourth-largest firm, a rank it has not held since 2009.

There appears to be better news for Virginia’s mid-size firms. Twenty-seven of the 35 firms who reported between 21 and 45 attorneys on staff have either hired or held steady into 2014. But this trend did not extend to the firms with 14 to 20 attorneys.

Only three of the smallest firms on the survey have grown since 2013.

The full survey results can be found in a magazine-style insert included with this week’s edition of the paper. A copy of this publication is also available below.

To qualify for the survey, a firm must have reported at least 14 Virginia-licensed attorneys working at offices located within Virginia.

Most of the information appearing in this survey was provided by firm officials. In some cases, we relied on firm websites to obtain the data. We have made every effort to present complete rankings. If we have missed a firm, please advise us so we can include the information in next year’s survey.

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