Frequently Asked Questions about the Am Law 200 and NLJ 350

• How are the rankings decided?
The Am Law 200 is a ranking of U.S. law firms by gross revenue. The NLJ 350 is a ranking of U.S. law firms by the number of full-time equivalent (FTE) attorneys of all types: partners, associates and others.

• What does full-time equivalent (FTE) mean?
Full-time equivalent means all full-time attorneys plus the equivalent number of part-time attorneys. For example, two half-time attorneys equal one full-time equivalent attorney. The formula also pro-rates an attorney’s time at the firm. For example, incoming associates are counted as 0.33 a person because they start in September.
• How should a firm calculate the average FTE lawyer count for a calendar year?
Take the average FTE lawyer count for each month, add and divide by 12.
• How does ALM differentiate between equity and nonequity partners?
We count equity partners as those partners who receive a Schedule K-1 and receive no more than half their compensation on a fixed-income basis. Nonequity partners are not full participants in the firm's profits, though they may have voting rights in firm matters.
• Who should be included in the category other attorneys?
Everyone except partners and associates should be included in this category. So, counsel, of counsel, senior counsel and staff attorneys all belong in this section. Retired partners listed as "of counsel" or otherwise should not be included unless they work full-time. "Other" does not include temporary or contract attorneys.

• How does the survey add up the census figures?
For question 6, the survey will add the raw numbers across each row and then round to the nearest whole number for each city. For question 7, the survey will add the raw numbers for each column and round the nearest whole number for each type of attorney. These rounded figures are then added to become the total attorney figure.

• How does ALM define associates in the incoming 2012 class?
All associates who are scheduled to enter the firm directly after law school graduation in 2012 or who were deferred from other graduating classes and started as first-year associates in 2012. Associates who come to the firm after completing a judicial clerkship are part of the incoming class of the year they begin work at the firm, not the year they graduated law school.

• Which partners should be counted as leaving the firm?
Partners which have left in lateral moves. Do not include partners who retired or withdrew.

• How does ALM define a temporary and contract attorneys?
Temporary and contract attorneys are those who are hired on a contract basis for a fixed period of time and receive no benefits. Do not include temporary or contract attorneys in the total number of attorneys for the census.
• How does ALM define geographic regions?
We group geographic regions into the following areas: Africa, Latin America / Caribbean, North America, South America, Oceania, Asia, Middle East and Europe.  For more information and a finer breakout of which countries belong in these regions, click here.


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