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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

Notes:
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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The Hong Kong Law Fair will be com­ing to the Uni­ver­sity of Sydney this year, and it’s being coordin­ated by the Chinese Law Stu­dents Soci­ety. Register now to attend, and spread the word!

04 Mar 2009 | No comments

These rank­ings have been updated for 2011!

Oth­er law firm rank­ings go by rev­en­ue, the num­ber of part­ners, or some oth­er meas­ure of big­ness. But in this Web 2.0 world, shouldn’t we be look­ing at what the unwashed masses have to say? In that vein, I am proud to present the 2009 nointrigue​.com Aus­trali­an Law Firm Rank­ings.

The basic idea is that the bet­ter the law firm, the more art­icles there should be on the Inter­net that refer to them. This is sim­il­ar to the idea behind PageR­ank, although I can only find out the PageR­ank of a firm’s web­site to the nearest integer, which is insuf­fi­ciently fine-grained.

I put each of the law firms’ full names through Google in the fol­low­ing format: "law firm name" AND law site:.au. The name is com­bined with the word law because firms like Gadens have rather com­mon names that could be used in oth­er con­texts.1 The search is restric­ted to Aus­trali­an sites, because inter­na­tion­al firms like Baker & McK­en­zie would be unfairly advant­aged — these rank­ings are meant to be for the Aus­trali­an mar­ket.

Rank­ing Law Firm Page Count Part­ners2
1 Free­hills (*) 20,000 214
2 Mal­lesons Steph­en Jaques (*) 19,600 197
3 Allens Arthur Robin­son (*) 19,500 197
4 Minter Ellis­on (*) 18,600 286
5 Dea­cons3 18,200 133
6 Clayton Utz (*) 17,300 223
7 Hunt & Hunt 15,200 56
8 Blake Dawson4 (*) 14,800 182
9 Corrs Cham­bers West­garth 9,700 120
10 DLA Phil­lips Fox 8,010 164
11 Gadens 6,210 109
12 Mad­docks 6,160 53
13 Baker & McK­en­zie 5,950 91
14 Hold­ing Red­lich 5,720 49
15 Gil­bert + Tobin 4,830 54
16 Sparke Hel­more 4,760 57
17 Middletons 4,260 64
18 Dibbs Abbott Still­man 3,330 68
19 McCul­lough Robertson 3,300 39
20 Arnold Bloch Lei­bler 3,260 28
21 Piper Alder­man 3,080 56
22 Henry Dav­is York 2,510 50
23 TressCox 2,170 48
24 Dav­ies Col­lis­on Cave 1,800 34
25 Her­bert Geer 1,530 47
26 Lander & Rogers 1,400 42
27 HWL Ebsworth 1,310 99
28 Hall & Wil­cox 1,290 27
29 Moray & Agnew 910 53
30 Thom­son Play­ford Cut­lers 335 37
31 Kennedy Strang 252 95

Notes:
1 This is very rough and some irrel­ev­ant hits might still be returned. How­ever, it appears to be “good enough” via inspec­tion of some of the hits found.
2 The num­ber of the part­ners is stated at 2 Janu­ary 2009, and sourced from the Aus­trali­an Fin­an­cial Review, 12 Decem­ber 2008, page 46.
3 “Dea­con” is a com­mon word and the search with this law firm’s name was par­tic­u­larly prob­lem­at­ic with many irrel­ev­ant hits; the page count is there­fore prob­ably high­er than what it should be.
4 Full dis­clos­ure: I cur­rently work at Blake Dawson as a sum­mer clerk.
* The firms with an aster­isk are the Big Six law firms.

For com­par­is­on, I used the same meth­od­o­logy on UK firms, this time switch­ing the domain to .uk. Clif­ford Chance, with 236 part­ners in the UK, returned 19,000 hits. Link­laters, with 227 part­ners, was second, with 12,800 hits. Thirdly, Fresh­fields Bruck­haus Deringer scored 12,500 hits; it has 219 part­ners and coun­sels, roughly coun­ted from their web­site. Inter­est­ingly, this is the same order as repor­ted by The Law­yer Glob­al 100 2008, which ranks law firms by total rev­en­ue!

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Gadens Law­yers have caught the atten­tion of many a law stu­dent with their out­rageous approaches to mar­ket­ing them­selves as an attract­ive, pro­gress­ive employ­er.

This year was no dif­fer­ent, and I couldn’t res­ist snatch­ing their advert from a law school notice­board (after the applic­a­tions have closed) to bring you a choice selec­tion of altern­at­ive applic­a­tion meth­ods. Sat­is­fy­ing any of the fol­low­ing would, appar­ently, “entitle you to an instant inter­view”:

  1. List the middle names of all the part­ners of Gadens Sydney as at 30 June 2008
  2. Draft your applic­a­tion entirely in prose, in the format of Dr Seuss’ “Green Eggs and Ham”
  3. Accom­pany your applic­a­tion with an Elle Woods style applic­a­tion DVD.

The fli­er then says, “Attempt­ing to sat­is­fy all 3 cri­ter­ia is just plain show­ing off.”

I was actu­ally curi­ous enough to look into these three cri­ter­ia. First, the middle names: their web­site has a list of part­ners in Sydney, but I saw no middle names. I sus­pect you’d either have to be an insider or know an insider (in which case, you’re look­ing good any­way), or email each and every one of them and risk suf­fer­ing their wrath.

For the second one, I may just be a phil­istine, but I’ll admit that I had to look up the Green Eggs and Ham ref­er­ence.

Enoch I am
I am Enoch
I am Enoch
Enoch I am

That Enoch-I-am!
That Enoch-I-am!
I do not like
that Enoch-I-am!

Do you like
bor­ing old law firms?

I do not like them,
Enoch-I-am.
I do not like
bor­ing old law firms.

OK, I give up — espe­cially after find­ing out from Wiki­pe­dia that the entire book is writ­ten using only 50 dif­fer­ent words.

Finally, while I have observed that a num­ber of select indi­vidu­als at law school would fit right into the set of Leg­ally Blonde, I sus­pect they have at least some meas­ure of self-dig­nity. But law stu­dents prove me wrong all the time.

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Come and join Peeter as he explores the wild, scary world of the sew­er sys­tem. Sharks, law firms and slime are only some of the delights in store! Watch now!

(This was the entry for FilmSoc’s Hairy Guer­rilla film com­pet­i­tion this semester from Daniel and me. We won Best Anim­a­tion.*)

Watch it on You­Tube, or down­load the Quick­Time file loc­ally.

* out of a total of one.

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