The number of lawyers in the top 10 firms in Israel, which ranks among the countries with the highest number of active lawyers measured in proportion to the country's population, rose by 22 percent in 2006 while the number of partners at those firms grew by 17%, according to the latest Duns 100 ranking of the country's top 127 law firms.
"The growth of the big law firms can be attributed to the growth of the Israeli economy and the capital market," said Reuven Kovent, CEO of Dun & Bradstreet Israel. "The law firms are the big winners of the global expansion of Israeli companies abroad, which are represented by them."
The 10 largest law firms in the country hired 163 lawyers.
As a result, Israel now has one lawyer for every 202 inhabitants in the country, compared with the US, which counts attorney for every 272 residents. This year the local proportion was expected to be even smaller, moving to one attorney for each 190 inhabitants.
Herzog, Fox & Neeman Law Offices this year, as in the previous two years, was ranked Israel's leading firm. The country's biggest law firm, which specializes in corporate and commercial law, counted 139 employees in 2006 after hiring 34 lawyers and 10 new partners. The law firm was founded in 1972 by former president of Israel, Chaim Herzog.
In second place was Goldfarb, Levy, Eran, Meiri & Co., which added 28 new lawyers, bringing its total number of active attorneys to 123. The merger of Goldfarb, Levy, Eran & Co. and Dankner- Lusky & Co. lifted the combined firm from the number six position the previous year.
Meitar, Liquornik, Geva & Leshem, Brandwein & Co. jumped from fifth place in the ranking to third with 86 lawyers after 14 new hires. The law firm has 20 partners after adding five in 2006.
Among the top 10 firms, Gross, Kleinhendler, Hodak, Halevy, Greenberg & Co., which employs 83 lawyers, made the biggest jump in the ranking moving from number 11 to number six as a result of the firm's expansion of operations into the capital market, the study showed.