Andrew Humphrey, Faegre Baker Daniels' managing partner.
Andrew Humphrey, Faegre Baker Daniels’ outgoing managing partner. Tom Froehle will replace Humphrey in March 2017. (Courtesy photo)

In a year when Faegre Baker Daniels announced a new leadership structure, the firm posted a 5 percent increase in gross revenue and a solid 7.5 percent bump in profits per equity partner.

The firm saw revenue rise to $489.5 million in 2016, as partner profits grew to $860,000. Revenue per lawyer rose 7.2 percent in 2016 to $745,000, as the firm’s total head count dropped from 670 lawyers to 657. Faegre Baker’s net income also increased to $190 million—a 5.3 percent rise compared with 2015.

The financial results came as Faegre Baker—formed in 2012 through a combination of Minneapolis-based Faegre & Benson and Indianapolis-based Baker & Daniels—prepared for a transition in leadership. In September, the firm announced that Thomas Froehle Jr. would become chair and managing partner of Faegre Baker in March 2017, replacing Andrew Humphrey, whose term limit as chair and managing partner expired.

Both Humphrey and Froehle described the firm’s past year as a solid one in which Faegre Baker’s lawyers kept busy with a string of deals and litigation work. They also said 2016 was marked, in part, by planning for a seamless leadership transition and continuing to look for ways to improve client service.

“The whole year was a success,” said Humphrey. “We’ve really been emphasizing a client service focus. … We think that helps the performance of the firm.”

Among Faegre Baker’s transactional work in 2016, the firm advised Couche-Tard Inc.—the Canadian gas station company behind the Circle K convenience store brand—on a $4.4 billion acquisition of San Antonio-based CST Brands Inc. Faegre Baker also advised acquisition target Interactive Intelligence Group Inc. in connection with a $1.4 billion purchase by Genesys Telecommunications Laboratories Inc., a San Francisco-based call center software company. The Couche-Tard deal is expected to close early in 2017, while the Genesys deal closed in December 2016.

On the litigation front, the firm’s leaders noted that Faegre Baker’s products liability team had a strong year. They also said that the firm continues to thrive in intellectual property, privacy and data security and white-collar work.

The firm found success representing Zimmer Biomet Holdings Inc. in multidistrict products liability litigation related to the company’s NexGen Flex knee replacement device. So far, Faegre Baker has won the first three bellwether trials in the litigation for Zimmer—securing a defense verdict in late 2015, a November 2016 win by judgment in the second bellwether, and a defense verdict early in 2017 in a third bellwether.

Faegre Baker also made several key hires across the firm, including the additions in February 2016 of litigation partners Bonita Moore and Tarifa Laddon in Los Angeles, where the firm had first opened an office in 2015. In Chicago—another office that has experienced recent growth—the firm hired former federal prosecutor Joel Hammerman, who joined as a partner in October to lead Faegre Baker’s white-collar defense group in that office.

Overall, the firm’s lawyer count shrank by 2 percent to 657, down from 670 in 2015. Faegre Baker’s equity partnership ranks also contracted by six partners to 221, although the firm gained 2 nonequity partners. The firm saw an 8 percent increase in nonequity compensation, which rose to $54 million in 2016 from $50 million in the prior year.

Humphrey and Froehle said they didn’t view the slight head count drops as significant, and attributed it to normal career transition points that might have led some lawyers to leave the firm or reduce their workloads. Looking ahead, Froehle said that under his leadership, he doesn’t anticipate any major shifts in the firm’s mix of transactional and litigation practices.

“We don’t see any big sharp turns as a result of the leadership transition,” said Froehle. “We certainly have some practices that are performing really well. … I would certainly expect those to see heavier growth.”

In a year when Faegre Baker Daniels announced a new leadership structure, the firm posted a 5 percent increase in gross revenue and a solid 7.5 percent bump in profits per equity partner.

The firm saw revenue rise to $489.5 million in 2016, as partner profits grew to $860,000. Revenue per lawyer rose 7.2 percent in 2016 to $745,000, as the firm’s total head count dropped from 670 lawyers to 657. Faegre Baker’s net income also increased to $190 million—a 5.3 percent rise compared with 2015.

The financial results came as Faegre Baker—formed in 2012 through a combination of Minneapolis-based Faegre & Benson and Indianapolis-based Baker & Daniels —prepared for a transition in leadership. In September, the firm announced that Thomas Froehle Jr. would become chair and managing partner of Faegre Baker in March 2017, replacing Andrew Humphrey, whose term limit as chair and managing partner expired.

Both Humphrey and Froehle described the firm’s past year as a solid one in which Faegre Baker’s lawyers kept busy with a string of deals and litigation work. They also said 2016 was marked, in part, by planning for a seamless leadership transition and continuing to look for ways to improve client service.

“The whole year was a success,” said Humphrey. “We’ve really been emphasizing a client service focus. … We think that helps the performance of the firm.”

Among Faegre Baker’s transactional work in 2016, the firm advised Couche-Tard Inc.—the Canadian gas station company behind the Circle K convenience store brand—on a $4.4 billion acquisition of San Antonio-based CST Brands Inc. Faegre Baker also advised acquisition target Interactive Intelligence Group Inc. in connection with a $1.4 billion purchase by Genesys Telecommunications Laboratories Inc., a San Francisco-based call center software company. The Couche-Tard deal is expected to close early in 2017, while the Genesys deal closed in December 2016.

On the litigation front, the firm’s leaders noted that Faegre Baker’s products liability team had a strong year. They also said that the firm continues to thrive in intellectual property, privacy and data security and white-collar work.

The firm found success representing Zimmer Biomet Holdings Inc. in multidistrict products liability litigation related to the company’s NexGen Flex knee replacement device. So far, Faegre Baker has won the first three bellwether trials in the litigation for Zimmer—securing a defense verdict in late 2015, a November 2016 win by judgment in the second bellwether, and a defense verdict early in 2017 in a third bellwether.

Faegre Baker also made several key hires across the firm, including the additions in February 2016 of litigation partners Bonita Moore and Tarifa Laddon in Los Angeles, where the firm had first opened an office in 2015. In Chicago—another office that has experienced recent growth—the firm hired former federal prosecutor Joel Hammerman, who joined as a partner in October to lead Faegre Baker’s white-collar defense group in that office.

Overall, the firm’s lawyer count shrank by 2 percent to 657, down from 670 in 2015. Faegre Baker’s equity partnership ranks also contracted by six partners to 221, although the firm gained 2 nonequity partners. The firm saw an 8 percent increase in nonequity compensation, which rose to $54 million in 2016 from $50 million in the prior year.

Humphrey and Froehle said they didn’t view the slight head count drops as significant, and attributed it to normal career transition points that might have led some lawyers to leave the firm or reduce their workloads. Looking ahead, Froehle said that under his leadership, he doesn’t anticipate any major shifts in the firm’s mix of transactional and litigation practices.

“We don’t see any big sharp turns as a result of the leadership transition,” said Froehle. “We certainly have some practices that are performing really well. … I would certainly expect those to see heavier growth.”