ATLANTA and WASHINGTON (November 10, 2008) – In its annual survey of the 250 largest law firms, The National Law Journal today released data that incorrectly identifies Sutherland among 10 firms that have experienced the largest decrease in attorney population since last year.
The error was noticed by Sutherland only when the firm was contacted to provide a statement about what The National Law Journal noted was a 16% decline in the number of attorneys from a year ago. The real difference is merely 2.5%.
“We knew immediately that the number was incorrect and took immediate action to contact various members of the editorial staff, research team and publisher at The National Law Journal to attempt to correct this factual error prior to publication," says Sutherland’s Managing Partner Mark D. Wasserman.
Last year, the firm in error provided attorney headcount data rather than the desired full-time-equivalent data to the survey—both important, but different, measurement perspectives. As such, two different data points were being compared by The National Law Journal this year.
“The firm apprised The National Law Journal of this discrepancy and expressed concern that the data it was using was not comparable," said Wasserman. “While acknowledging our concern that the information it was about to publish would be incorrect, we were told by The National Law Journal that the charts accompanying the article had already gone to press and could not be changed, but that it would address the error, which it did, in the accompanying article."
As of September 30, 2007, Sutherland’s attorney roster was 439.5 full-time equivalents, compared to 428.60 attorney full-time equivalents as of September 30, 2008. As such, the change from last year to this year is 2.5%, not the 16% reported in the “2008 NLJ 250."
“This 2.5% change over the last 12 months is typical of what firms our size experience and is nothing out of the ordinary," said Wasserman. “Under the circumstances, we are disappointed that The National Law Journal published incorrect information once it had been fully apprised of the facts, although we do appreciate its attempt to ameliorate the situation in its article."
SUTHERLAND ASBILL & BRENNAN LLP
Sutherland is a law firm with global reach known for solving challenging business problems and resolving unique legal issues for many of the world’s largest companies. Founded in 1924, the firm has grown to approximately 500 lawyers handling matters in every part of the world. Seven major practice areas — corporate, energy and environmental, financial services, intellectual property, litigation, real estate and tax — provide the framework that contains an extensive range of specialty areas, allowing its lawyers to serve a diverse client base that includes a number of Fortune 500 companies.