2011 top Australian law firms

Just over two years ago, I cre­ated the inaug­ur­al nointrigue​.com Aus­trali­an Law Firm Rank­ings, which worked on the basic assump­tion that the big­ger and the more not­able a law firm is, the more people would be want­ing to talk about it. And what bet­ter way to meas­ure this than to ask Google.

Here are the rank­ings updated, for 2011.

There have been some slight changes in meth­od­o­logy, in an attempt to focus the search res­ults down to the pages that truly mat­ter. Start­ing with what we used for the 2009 rank­ings:

"law firm name" law site:.au

this has been sup­ple­men­ted by search terms that remove pages from the law firm’s own web site and from some par­tic­u­lar web-based dir­ect­or­ies (the list of which is arbit­rary and could well be improved). For example:

"Allens Arthur Robinson" law site:.au -site:yellowpages.com.au -site:truelocal.com.au -site:findlaw.com.au -site:lawyerlist.com.au -site:hotfrog.com.au -site:aar.com.au

For law firms with an ampersand or a plus sign in their name, addi­tion­al search terms were inser­ted to allow for vari­ations in spelling, like so:

("Gilbert + Tobin" OR "Gilbert and Tobin" OR "Gilbert & Tobin" OR "Gilbert Tobin") law site:.au -site:yellowpages.com.au -site:truelocal.com.au -site:findlaw.com.au -site:lawyerlist.com.au -site:hotfrog.com.au -site:gtlaw.com.au

Now, without fur­ther ado:

Law Firm  Pages  Part­ners1 ’09 
1 Clayton Utz 78,900 201 6 Up
2 DLA Phil­lips Fox 72,400 149 10 Up
3 Minter Ellis­on 66,100 291 4 Up
4 Blake Dawson 57,400 175 8 Up
5 Free­hills 48,500 202 1 Down
6 Mal­lesons Steph­en Jaques 46,600 186 2 Down
7 Allens Arthur Robin­son 37,900 177 3 Down
8 Corrs Cham­bers West­garth 25,700 108 9 Up
9 Mad­docks 23,500 53 12 Up
10 Baker & McK­en­zie 21,200 90 13 Up
11 Norton Rose2 19,800 146 5 Down
12 Middletons 18,900 67 17 Up
13 Sparke Hel­more 18,500 49 16 Up
14 Cooper Grace Ward 16,000 24
15 Hold­ing Red­lich 15,600 55 14 Down
16 Henry Dav­is York 10,100 52 22 Up
17 Gil­bert + Tobin 9,470 55 15 Down
18 Piper Alder­man 9,170 57 21 Up
19 Hunt & Hunt 7,130 55 7 Down
20 Arnold Bloch Lei­bler 6,990 29 20
21 McCul­lough Robertson 6,490 46 19 Down
22 HWL Ebsworth 5,320 120 27 Up
23 Kennedy Strang3 4,970 72 31 Up
24 Grif­fith Hack 4,890 30
25 Gadens 4,470 125 11 Down
26 TressCox 4,270 35 23 Down
27 Dav­ies Col­lis­on Cave 2,990 36 24 Down
28 Hall & Wil­cox 1,780 30 28
29 Thom­sons Law­yers4 1,250 47 30 Up
30 Lander & Rogers 815 47 26 Down
31 Moray & Agnew 596 59 29 Down
32 Macpherson+Kelley 340 51
33 Colin Big­gers & Pais­ley 324 29

1 The num­ber of part­ners is the pro­jec­ted fig­ure for 2 Janu­ary 2011, as repor­ted by the Aus­trali­an Fin­an­cial Review on 10 Decem­ber 2010, page 47.
2 Norton Rose merged with Dea­cons, which was #5 in the 2009 rank­ings.
3 Kennedy Strang is a group of law firms (Kemp Strang, Rus­sell Kennedy, Thynne & Macart­ney, Lynch Mey­er). The repor­ted page count is the total count for these law firms.
4 Thom­sons Law­yers was called Thom­son Play­ford Cut­lers at the time of the 2009 rank­ings.

To get a feel for the “noise” in the page count, that is, the num­ber of pages in the res­ult set that do not actu­ally refer to the law firm in ques­tion, I manu­ally examined the top 30 search res­ults for each law firm. For only three firms was 1 out of the 30 pages iden­ti­fied as spuri­ous; the oth­er law firms had no spuri­ous res­ults. This, of course, doesn’t mean the sig­nal-to-noise ratio remains con­stant as one pro­gresses towards the tail end of the search res­ults; Google’s algorithms, by now, are prob­ably quite good at get­ting the more rel­ev­ant pages to appear in earli­er search res­ults.

Man­dat­ory read­ing (for those of you who have read this far and have taken everything ser­i­ously): xkcd on using Google to meas­ure things

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  1. Dave Longpants’s avatar

    A couple strange entries this time around but over­all, largely as expec­ted from both rev­en­ue and law­yer head count per­spect­ives. DLA Phil­lips Fox seems par­tic­u­larly out of place — could the let­ters DLA have some­thing to do with it I won­der??? Oth­er­wise, 1 — 7 = top tier firms, as one would expect. Get rid of DLA and pre­sum­ably DLAPF would sit some­where around Corrs, Norton Rose and Baker McK­en­zie. Gadens is totally out of place 25 — 125 part­ners and a pretty healthy rev­en­ue to match — won­der what happened there? The oth­er firms which in my view should’ve garnered more atten­tion are G+T, ABL and McCul­lough Robertson, each a qual­ity out­fit. The rest of the mid-tiers fall into roughly where they belong, although one must be curi­ous at why Landers & Rogers is only 1/​11th as sexy as Piper Alder­man and 1/​20th as sexy as Hold­ing Red­lich. Also, is entry 34, Hebert “Greer”, a typo in this post, or did u stuff up the search as well? Lastly, where’s that big inter­na­tion­al play­er who’s made its way to our shores last year, namely A&O? Fair enough this list doesn’t include Clif­ford Chance or DLA Piper, only time will tell how suc­cess­ful they’ll be, but A&O has been around for a year now!! Look for­ward to the 2012 edi­tion.

    1. Enoch Lau’s avatar

      Oh dear, I screwed this one up. I’ll remove Her­bert Geer from the table, instead of redo­ing the whole table. Thanks for point­ing it out.

    2. James Boyden’s avatar

      Ha, I found this while I was stalk­ing you on the Inter­net (by brows­ing your web­site).

      Coin­cid­ence: Last semester I did a Com­merce sub­ject called “Innov­a­tion and IP Man­age­ment”, the IP Law lec­turer of which was a law­yer from #24, Grif­fith Hack. True story!

      How’s Google Maps treat­ing you?


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