Katten Muchin Rosenman grew revenue by more than 10 percent last year to a record of nearly $635 million and also saw strong rises in profits per equity partner, revenue per lawyer and head count, according to preliminary data from ALM.
Profits per equity partner increased about 7 percent to about $1.7 million while revenue per lawyer rose 3.5 percent to $958,000. The firm’s lawyer head count rose nearly 7 percent to 662 as the number of equity partners at the firm fell from 142 to 140.
Katten’s chair Roger Furey said he viewed the year as “foundation-setting,” with more growth to come. The Chicago-founded firm made a number of investments in 2018, including adding more than 35 lateral partners. One particular focus was the opening of a Dallas office in February that now has about 35 lawyers after launching with seven partners from a predecessor firm of Hunton Andrews Kurth.
Building on 2018’s success, Furey said the firm’s partnership last week approved a new three-year strategic plan. The plan focuses on building out practice groups that dovetail with the firm’s relatively well-known finance practice, Furey said. Ultimately, Furey said the firm would hope to move up by about 10 spots in the Am Law 100 rankings. In the past two years, the firm has ranked No. 62.
“We are a bit of a well-kept secret for people outside the finance area,” Furey said. “The clients who operate in the finance space, they know Katten is a go-to firm. They see us across the table all the time. We want to get the word out beyond those people.”
Washington, D.C.,-based Furey took the reins as firm chairman in 2016, replacing Chicago-based Vincent Sergi, who had been the firm’s leader for more than two decades. Katten also has a CEO, financial services partner Noah Heller, who is among the youngest firm leaders in the Am Law 200. The firm’s leadership ranks also include chief operating officer Craig Courter, who was hired in 2017 after a long stint at Baker McKenzie.
In one example of how Furey said the firm hopes to capitalize on its finance practice to build other strong groups, the firm has been hiring health care lawyers. The health care industry has seen an influx of financial service needs as private equity firms buy up health providers, Furey said.
The firm’s Dallas office in October added a three-partner team of health care lawyers who had all been leaders at their former firms. The three-woman group included Lisa Atlas Genecov (formerly of Norton Rose Fulbright), Cheryl Camin Murray (ex-Winstead) and Kenya Woodruff, (formerly of Haynes and Boone).
“There is a lot of synergy between our finance and healthcare groups,” Furey said. “Some of the people in our healthcare group have been among the busiest on [private equity]-related deals in the past year.”
Katten also added a four-lawyer bankruptcy and restructuring group in New York that included Steven Reisman, a lawyer known as “Two-Dollar Steve” in the hip-hop community for his penchant for handing out $2 bills at rap shows.
As for how the firm will measure its success on its strategic plan, Furey said it would look at brand recognition polls such as those offered by Acritas. On the financial side, he said the firm’s growth would hopefully be a byproduct of strengthening relationships with both clients and the firm’s lawyers.
“We want to grow and strengthen our firm fabric by focusing on the development of some of the younger lawyers in the pipeline and making sure they are well-equipped to be the future owners of the firm,” Furey said. “That will necessarily lead to growth in profitability and revenue.”