In the latest March 2018 issue, Chicago Lawyer published results from their 16th annual survey of Illinois’ largest law firms and spoke with managing partners at Chicago firms that have seen strong growth in recent years, including two of our clients Faegre Baker Daniels and Akerman.
Faegre Baker Daniels, for example, has proven that they have the right approach for Chicago growth, successfully growing their seven-attorney starter office to over 60 in just eight years. According to Chicago Lawyer’s latest survey results, Faegre Baker Daniels is the 58th largest firm in Illinois, up from 67th last year, and plans to have more than 100 lawyers in the Chicago office over the next few years. “We’re cognizant of the fact that the growth is primarily not going to come from our main markets, so we’re looking to grow in other markets,” notes Chicago managing partner, Rick Michaels. “There’s no limitation or desire to have a limited presence here. Our goal is to have [Chicago] be one of the growth vehicles for the firm as a whole.”
For Akerman, a mid-sized, full-service firm based out of Miami, growth has been a response to client demand. Chicago managing partner Scott Meyers discussed with the publication how client demand has continued to shape Akerman’s growth in Chicago, after firm headcount increased from eight to 51 lawyers since opening its doors in 2014. According to Chicago Lawyer’s recent survey, Akerman is the 67th largest firm in Illinois, up from 86th in 2017. “We did not come to Chicago just because we wanted to grow. We came to Chicago because our clients wanted us to be here. We have always worked backwards from ‘What do our clients need? What do our clients want? What do our clients expect us to be?’ rather than a strategy of ‘If we build it the clients will come,’” Meyers notes.
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Akerman, a mid-sized, full-service firm based out of Miami, opened their Chicago office two years ago with eight lawyers, which has since grown a team of 45 attorneys.
Meyers tells Crain’s that he “never imagined [they] would be able to grow as quickly as [they] have,” but says that they won’t put a goal date on their plan of doubling in size. He explains that they are “optimistic enough” that they will “find enough wedge into the market” (as quoted in Crain’s).
Meyers points out that Akerman has managed to accomplish the same goal in New York, where their office has grown to nearly one hundred attorneys. “As I always tell my litigators,” he adds, “don’t tell people when you can show people” (as quoted in Crain’s).