2019 Vault Rankings
“Flexibility in where/when you work”
“The attorneys are generally approachable and friendly”
“Substantive work early on”
“Unclear partner track”
“The billable target”
“Lack of transparency”
With approximately 4,200 lawyers in 90+ offices around the globe, DLA Piper is one of the largest law firms—both by headcount and by revenue—in the world.
Hunting and Gathering
DLA Piper is a law firm empire. Its massive growth is the result of 2005’s tripartite merger between UK firm DLA, Chicago/Baltimore-based Piper Rudnick, and California’s Gray Cary Ware & Freidenrich—and the whirlwind of acquisitions that followed. Spurring the growth were healthy real estate, litigation, corporate, and private equity practices and the absorption of entire departments from rival firms. In September 2006, the firm hacked its name from DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary to the concise DLA Piper, a change reflecting its new emphasis on global brand building. The firm’s 2011 merger with DLA Phillips Fox in Australia pushed the firm over the 4,000-attorney mark, bringing the already super-sized firm from huge to gigantic. Since then, the firm also has combined with Davis LLP to bring its platform into Canada.
Equity for Everyone
As banks cut credit lines, many law firms are reformulating the ways they fund their operations. In November 2008, DLA announced that the firm would eliminate the “income partner” distinction and concept, meaning that all partners would vote, have an ownership position in the firm, contribute capital as part of a graduated equity partner structure and be part of a single compensation system. Coupled with a reduction in monthly payments to some U.S. equity partners, the move was designed to significantly reduce the firm’s credit exposure and allow the firm to fund a greater percentage of business operations without outside financing. “We want every partner to act like and feel like an owner of the business even if it's only partially so,” said Francis B. Burch, Jr., the firm’s then Global Chairman. “We have found with a large class of income partners, there's a tendency on the part of some people to behave and think like an employee as opposed to someone with a vested interest in the long-term success of the firm.”
After leaving the firm in 2009 to become President Barack Obama’s special envoy for Middle East peace, former Senate Majority Leader George J. Mitchell returned to the firm in 2011 as chairman emeritus. In May 2008, TIME magazine named Senator Mitchell as one of “The World’s 100 Most Influential People.” During his 14-year Senate career, Mitchell led the successful 1990 reauthorization of the Clean Air Act; authored the low-income housing tax credit program; was instrumental in the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act; chaired the peace negotiations in Northern Ireland; and was a leader in ratifying NAFTA and WTO regulations. Prior to his stint under the Obama administration, Mitchell had been chairman of the global board of DLA Piper and led a team of DLA Piper lawyers in the highly publicized investigation into steroid use in Major League Baseball, culminating in the release of the “Mitchell Report.”
DLA Piper is home to a number of other former public servants and policy makers. Former Georgia Congressman and Senator Saxby Chambliss joined DLA in 2014 and former Congressman and Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood serves as a senior policy advisor to the firm. Governor Jim Blanchard—who served as a United States Ambassador to Canada, the Governor of Michigan, and a member of Congress—is a partner in the Government Affairs Practice Group in the Washington, DC office, former Delaware Governor Michael Castle is a partner in the Wilmington office, and former Pennsylvania Congressman Charlie Dent is a senior policy advisor to the firm.
IN THE NEWS
BAZ|DLA Piper in Chile merged with Noguera, Larraín & Dulanto to become DLA Piper BAZ NLD. The combination addresses the growing demand from local and international clients and accelerates the firm’s mission of expanding its capabilities in one of Latin America's largest economies.
DLA Piper was recognized as one of the strongest law firm brands in the U.S. and the world in Acritas’ Law Firm Brand Indexes, ranking second globally and sixth in the US.
For the eighth consecutive year, DLA Piper earned the top ranking globally for overall M&A deal volume in 2017, according to Mergermarket’s league tables for legal advisors. The firm was involved in more than 550 transactions worldwide, valued at approximately $102 billion.
DLA Piper completed a merger with Liner LLP, a leading Los Angeles-based boutique law firm, with vast experience in media and entertainment, litigation, real estate, corporate transactions and restructuring. Since then, the firm has attracted a range of top-notch talent, including many preeminent practitioners from the Am Law 100.
DLA Piper represented Tilman J. Fertitta in his acquisition of the Houston Rockets NBA franchise, including the operating rights to the Toyota Center Arena. The $2.2 billion transaction is a record purchase price for an NBA franchise.
DLA Piper partnered with Diversity Lab to pilot the Mansfield Rule, an initiative through which participating firms will consider at least 30 percent women and attorneys of color for leadership and governance roles, equity partner promotions, and lateral positions.
1251 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020
Phone: (212) 335-4500
Employer Type: Private
Co-Chairmen (Americas): Roger Meltzer & Cameron Jay Rains
Managing Partner (Americas): Stasia Kelly
National Hiring Partner, Associate Recruiting: Christina L. Martini
Total No. Attorneys 2018: 4,300
Atlanta; Phoenix; Raleigh; Short Hills
1st year: $170,000
Summer associate: $3,269/week All other U.S. Offices
1st year: $190,000
Summer associate: $3,654/week *Associate compensation is merit-based
36 out of 37 (2Ls) (2017)
Atlantic City, NJ
Baltimore MD (2)
Los Angeles, CA (3)
New York, NY
Northern Virginia, VA
San Diego, CA (2)
San Francisco, CA
San Juan, PR
Short Hills, NJ
Silicon Valley, CA
+ 66 international locations
Intellectual Property & Technology
Real Estate (including Real Estate Capital Markets)