Venable, bolstered by the strength of the firm’s litigation and regulatory groups, in 2013 set new firm records for revenue and profits per partner.
The law firm’s revenue rose 9 percent to $409.5 million, and Venable’s 160 equity partners took home an average of $905,000 last year, up 7 percent from 2012, when partners earned $845,000. Net income jumped almost 8 percent, from $134 million to $144.5 million. The data are part of The National Law Journal’s reporting of 2013 financial results of The Am Law 100, a list of the country’s highest-grossing firms.
“It wasn’t one big case or one big contingency fee that came in and resulted in a spike,” said co-managing partner Robert Waldman. Rather, he said a key driver was the firm’s litigation practice, with product liability, commercial and intellectual property cases leading the way.
Venable’s strategy has been to use its regulatory strength “as a differentiator to enhance our other practices,” Waldman said, and to “push our regulatory skills….into other offices and practice groups.”
Case in point: The firm opened a new office in San Francisco in 2013, betting that increasing numbers of Silicon Valley and Bay Area companies “have matured to the point where they have a need for a firm with D.C. regulatory strength,” he said.
To staff the new office, the firm dispatched a pair of corporate lawyers from its New York office and one from Washington, and nabbed commercial litigator Thomas Wallerstein and two associates from litigation boutique Colt Wallerstein.
Key lateral acquisitions in other offices include two tax partners, Stephanie Loughlin and Ralph Hardy, Jr., who joined the firm’s Washington office from Dow Lohnes. Litigator Randall Miller joined Venable’s Northern Virginia and Washington offices from Arnold & Porter and is representing Morgan Drexen in a suit challenging the constitutionality of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Venable’s New York office got a bump in 2013 from the addition of six real estate lawyers from Dewey & LeBoeuf in mid-2012, who more than doubled the size of the practice group there. “They’ve been a terrific addition for us,” Waldman said.
Most recently, the firm snagged David Strickland, who was head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. He bolsters what Waldman called one of Venable’s “flagship practices”—privacy and data security—where the confluence of vehicle technology, data privacy, connectivity and safety are likely ripe for future legal work.
Headcount at the firm grew 6 percent in 2013, from 501 to 533 lawyers, including one additional equity partner and two new income partners.
With nine offices (three of them in Maryland) Waldman said Venable “doesn’t have an enormous overhead,” and carries no debt. “We are a very conservatively run firm,” he said. “We’re really proud in these tumultuous times how solid our firm is.”
Firm clients include Bethesda, Md.-based Marriott International Inc. and Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.
Waldman described the firm’s rates as cost-competitive. “Our fee structure maybe makes us a little bit more attractive,” he said. “We’re a very attractive option in the market now.”
This report is part of The National Law Journal‘s coverage of 2013 financial results of The Am Law 100. Final rankings and full results for The Am Law 100 will be published in the spring in The American Lawyer and on AmericanLawyer.com.