The American Lawyer recently published results from its annual Am Law 200 report, noting that for the first time in years the second hundred largest grossing law firms matched the growth of the top one hundred in nearly every key financial metric. Overall, the Second Hundred increased gross revenue on average by 5 percent, profit per equity partner grew 4.6 percent, revenue per lawyer increased 2.9 percent, and overall headcount rose 2.1 percent.
According to the report, twenty-one Second Hundred firms saw double-digit revenue growth and forty firms saw revenue increase by more than five percent. Within those numbers, there were pronounced differences among different groups in the Second Hundred, as firms ranked 151 through 200 nearly doubled the growth of those ranked 101 through 150, posting a 7.2% revenue increase on average, compared with 3.9% for the top half of the list, the report notes.
Among the Second Hundred firms, Burr & Forman had the largest increase in revenue, jumping 14 spots to No. 155, up 32% from last year. Two firms dropped from the Am Law 100 to the Second Hundred this year: Baker Donelson (101) and Williams & Connolly (102). Meanwhile, three firms joined the Am Law 200: Cole Scott & Kissane (163); Hanson Bridgett (192); and Pryor Cashman (178).
Additionally, twenty-five Am Law 200 firms based or founded in the Midwest increased their revenue on average by 8% last year. Seven of them posted double-digit gains, far exceeding the average 5% growth the Am Law 200 and the 6% growth Chicago-based firms saw in 2018. Those seven firms were Barnes & Thornburg, Polsinelli, Ice Miller, Porter Wright, Robins Kaplan, Benesch, and Spencer Fane.
“Now, as this year’s Second Hundred stare down another major financial crisis, one that will likely be worse than the last, they can learn from the lessons of the past: focus on strong leadership; stay nimble; capitalize on their smaller size; stick with growth strategies; and diversify services when appropriate. Faced with a daunting future, it could mean the difference between success and failure,” (as quoted in The American Lawyer).
Contact Bill Sugarman for more information.
In a recent article, The American Lawyer takes a deep dive look at the strategies and practices of a small group of firms that have delivered year-over-year growth since the Great Recession. According to ALM Intelligence data, only 27 of the 100 firms on the Am Law rankings have had year-over-year growth in revenue since the 2009 fiscal year. To understand how a select group of firms turned the recession into an opportunity to thrive, not just survive, The American Lawyer spoke with a group of leaders who played a pivotal role in reimagining their firms’ trajectories.
So, what characteristics do these law firms have in common? Janet Stanton of law firm consultancy Adam Smith, Esq. elaborates on the subject, noting “They tend to operate in a more business-like way, which means a focus on profitability, intentional planning, strategic intake and succession planning for leadership roles and client management. From the 1980s to 2008, law land didn’t have to do any of these things, so these firms that are pulling away changed their strategy, notes Stanton. These firms have been able to get it right for nearly a decade, and each had to develop a unique strategy to make it happen,” (as quoted in The American Lawyer).
According to the article, the law firms that have delivered year-over-year growth since the 2009 fiscal year include: Akin Gump; Baker & Hostetler; Barnes & Thornburg; Cooley; Davis Polk; Duane Morris; Fox Rothschild; Fragomen; Gibson Dunn; Goodwin Procter; Holland & Knight; Jackson Lewis; King & Spalding; Kirkland & Ellis; Latham & Watkins; McGuireWoods; Milbank; Morgan Lewis; Ogletree Deakins; Paul Weiss; Perkins Coie; Polsinelli; Proskauer Rose; Ropes & Gray; Sheppard Mullin; Simpson Thacher; and Williams & Connolly.
Contact Bill Sugarman for more information.
Intellectual property boutique Brinks, Gilson, & Leone lost four litigation partners to Midwest-based Barnes & Thornburg last week, according to The American Lawyer. This follows the recent trend for IP boutiques, many of which have either been absorbed by larger firms or have also had an unusually large number of partners depart.
John Gabrielides, one of the four partners that moved to Barnes, explained that they felt “limited in the services we could offer to our clients” at Brinks Gilson, and that joining a full-service firm “gives us a lot more flexibility and latitude” (as reported by The American Lawyer).