(J. Albert Diaz)
Shutts & Bowen posted a 4 percent annual increase in gross revenue last year and focused on boosting total compensation to non-equity partners at the expense of equity partners.
The Miami-based firm collected record revenue last year, garnering $132.5 million, up from $127.5 million the year before. Net income at $56 million and revenue per lawyer at $575,000 were flat.
Lawyer headcount grew 4 percent to 230 lawyers from 221 in 2012. Shutts added three to equity partnerships and eight to non-equity partnerships, bringing partnership ranks to 173, or 78 percent of the firm.
Profit per partner dipped about 3 percent to $660,000 from $680,000, and average compensation for all partners fell 4.3 percent to $445,000 from $465,000. Total compensation to non-equity partners rose 7.7 percent to $21 million from $19.5 million.
The overall profit margin dipped to 42 percent form 44 percent.
Shutts managing partner Joseph Bolton attributed the declining equity compensation numbers to the addition of partners.
“We have very productive attorneys we want to compensate well,” Bolton said. “We’re very pleased with our performance this year.”
Firm COO Fred O’Malley said Shutts took on a number of non-equity lateral partners this year, and “it takes them a while to ramp up.”
Shutts & Bowen added an eighth office last year in Sarasota, including two partners and an associate, when it acquired the law firm Livingston, Patterson, Strickland & Siegel.
The firm has signed a lease to move its Miami headquarters to Class A office space, taking three floors at Southeast Financial Center starting in November 2015.
Joe Ankus, a legal headhunter with Ankus Consulting of Weston, said he was not surprised with Shutts’ numbers.
“They understand two things—they know how to practice and they know how to run a law firm, and I can’t say that about every law firm in South Florida,” Ankus said. “Some know how to practice law great and can’t run a law firm, and some can manage a law firm but can’t practice law. Shutts has the ability to do both and do them well. They’ve earned the right to be known as a Florida institution.”
The 104-year-old law firm has offices in Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Orlando, Sarasota, Tallahassee, Tampa, West Palm Beach and Amsterdam.