University of Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh among Top Five U.S. Cities for Law Firm Growth

Marcellus Shale Primary Driver for Increase in Percentage of Lawyers
Publish Date/Time: 
June 26, 2013


Pittsburgh is one of the nation’s top five go-to cities for lawyers, according to The National Law Journal (NLJ) 350 Regional Report survey, the results of which were released June 17 and featured the same day in the NLJ article “Fastest Law Firm Growth Was Fueled by Energy Markets.” The city saw a 3.0% increase in lawyers from 2012 to 2013 (see below for the top five best- and worst-faring cities).

The regional report surveyed the 350 largest law firms in the country. Of the five cities that gained the largest percentage of lawyers in 2012, three—Denver, Colo.; Houston, Texas; and Dallas, Texas—are considered oil rich. The article attributed Pittsburgh’s growth to Marcellus Shale work.

Denver’s 7.5% increase was the highest in the nation and is believed to have resulted from the 2012 merger of Bryan Cave and Holme Roberts & Owen, an energy-focused firm that employs about 150 lawyers. Kansas City, Mo., lost the most lawyers in 2012 (4.0%).

According to the report, Pittsburgh’s three largest NLJ 350 offices are K&L Gates, with 179 lawyers, Reed Smith with 177, and Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney with 173. All three firms have significantly expanded their oil and gas teams over the past five years.

Kent Zimmermann, a consultant with Zeughauser Group, was quoted in the article. “Energy is hot,” he said. “As energy companies grow, they more frequently release value in transactions and settling disputes over assets. As a result, their demand for legal services goes up.”

For access to the complete survey results, view the NLJ 350 Regional Report here. You may select “Pittsburgh” from the list of U.S. Markets on the left-hand side of the page. Read the full NLJ article here.

U.S. Cities that Gained the Most Lawyers in 2012*

1.       Denver, Colo., 7.5%

2.       Houston, Texas, 4.3%

3.       Dallas, Texas, 3.1%

4.       Miami, Fla., 3.0%

5.       Pittsburgh, Pa., 3.0%

U.S. Cities that Lost the Most Lawyers in 2012*

1.       Kansas City, Mo., -4.0%

2.       Chicago, Ill., -2.0%

3.       Los Angeles, Calif., - 1.5%

4.       Seattle, Wash., - 1.5%

5.       Indianapolis, Ind., - 1.4%

*source: National Law Journal NLJ 350 Regional Report

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