Under the leadership of a new chairman, Loeb & Loeb saw revenue growth that exactly matched head count growth in 2018, as it increased profits incrementally.
The Los Angeles-headquartered firm, which ranked 107th on the Am Law 200 in 2017, increased gross revenue by 12.6 percent to $344.91 million in 2018, while profits per equity partner (PEP) grew by 2.1 percent, from $1.68 million in 2017 to $1.71 million last year.
The firm’s net income jumped 9 percent over the prior year to $82.27 million. That growth in profits came even as the firm joined industry leaders in raising associate starting salaries to $190,000.
However, revenue per lawyer (RPL) remained flat at $944 thousand as head count increased by 41 lawyers, to 365 last year, exactly matching revenue growth at 12.6 percent.
“The last two years have been particularly strong for us,” said Loeb & Loeb chairman Kenneth Florin, who officially took that role last February. Florin is based in New York, where the firm also maintains a significant presence with about 144 lawyers, according to the firm.
“Our strategy is bearing out. It is a strategy that is very focused on providing clients the services for the modern economy,” Florin said, attributing the firm’s financial growth to its core practices including trusts and estates, litigation, employment and labor, advanced media and technology and real estate.
With 12 lateral partner hires last year, Loeb & Loeb’s partnership tier grew by 5.1 percent, to 184 in 2018. The size of the equity partnership increased by 9.1 percent, to 48 partners. The firm also reported 11 partner departures.
“We have invested a lot in our younger talent, which has already begun to bear fruit,” said Florin, 52, who has spent his entire career at the firm and co-founded Loeb & Loeb’s advanced media and technology group.
Under Florin’s leadership, Loeb & Loeb opened an office in San Francisco last year, hiring a group of six trusts and estates lawyers from Cooley.
The firm’s Chicago office also brought on a three-partner team from Winston & Strawn last May, including Brian Heidelberger, the former leader of Winston & Strawn’s advertising, marketing and brand protection practice. That group of partners also brought nine associates to Loeb & Loeb.
But Loeb & Loeb also saw a group of 10 media and entertainment lawyers defect to Paul Hastings, to open an additional office for that firm in Century City. They included media and entertainment partners Mickey Mayerson, Susan Williams, Craig Emanuel, Stephen Saltzman and Erik Hyman, a number of whom have previously held leadership roles for the firm’s entertainment group.
Last year, Loeb & Loeb had approximately 365 attorneys in its eight offices, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Chicago, Nashville, Washington, D.C., Beijing and Hong Kong. Florin said the firm does not have any immediate plans to open new offices.
Looking ahead in 2019, Florin said he expects the firm to continue growing its corporate and litigation practices, and expand into areas such as real estate and entertainment. Most recently, Loeb & Loeb brought on former Irell & Manella partner Paul Swanson to chair its entertainment finance practice.
“I think we’ll continue to have to hire to meet growing demand,” Florin said.