Israel
BDI: Herzog, Fox & Neeman remains top Israeli law firm
By Noam Sharvit
Jun 26, 2006, 09:27

The plague of mergers in Israelís legal market over the past 18 months has barely affected the top firms in Business Data Israelís BDI Code. The top ten firms, based on the criteria of firm size, the number of attorneys and the number of customers, has stayed intact, with only four firms moving slightly in the rankings.

Herzog, Fox & Neeman, Yigal Arnon & Co. and S. Horowitz & Co. are the top three firms, the same positions held in the 2005 rankings. Goldfarb, Levy, Eran, Meiri & Co., rose four places to fourth place, the largest change in the rankings, following its merger with Dankner, Lusky & Co.

Naschitz, Brandes & Co. rose one place, and I. Gornitzky & Co. and Gross, Kleinhendler, Hodak, Halevy, Greenberg & Co. both dropped two.

In contrast to its rival, D&B Israel, which publishes separate rankings for law firms on the basis of the number of lawyers, and the quality of its areas of practice, BDI combines the two. BDI says combining quantitative and qualitative measures is the key to a companyís leadership and success in any sector.

Top ranking Herzog Fox & Neeman increased the number of its attorneys by 18 last year, expanding the firm by 20%. The firm now has 128 attorneys, 34 of whom are partners. BDI Code says the firm was involved in most of the major transactions in the Israeli economy in 2005, including the acquisition of the controlling interest in Bezeq Ltd. (TASE: BEZQ) and the sale of Cellcom Israel Ltd., and it also represents Israel Electric Corporation (IEC).

BDI says Israel has the worldís highest number of lawyers per capita: 1:250. 33,000 persons had a license to practice law in Israel in 2005, of whom 80-85% were active in the profession. The supply of lawyers makes it hard to find work: 4-6 attorneys apply for every available position.

Over 40% of Israeli lawyers are women, compared with 33% in the mid-1990s. The proportion of Arab lawyers has grown significantly over the past decade, but still remain quite low at 10% of all lawyers, half the Arabsí proportion of Israelís total population. The average age of lawyers dropped from 41 in the mid-1990s to 38 in 2005.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes.co.il - on June 26, 2006
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