Boston-based Brown Rudnick reached new highs in revenue and profits last year, banking on investments in new talent and the work of its younger partners to ensure even greater future success.
Gross revenue at the firm jumped 8.4 percent to $208 million in 2018. Revenue per lawyer increased 6 percent to $961,000 from $907,000 the year prior. Profits per equity partner increased to $1.301 million, up 3.6 percent from 2017.
“We’ve made a lot of important, strategic investments in the firm, and last year we’re really starting to see the benefits—financial and otherwise—from those investments,” said Brown Rudnick’s new chief executive officer, William Baldiga.
Baldiga, the former managing director of the firm’s litigation and restructuring department, replaced longtime Brown Rudnick CEO Joseph Ryan last month.
The firm has built several practices from scratch over the last five years, Baldiga noted. Its intellectual property litigation group started five years ago with only three lawyers. It now boasts a bench of 14 lawyers with 40 active district court cases across the country.
Its investigations and white-collar practice has also ballooned to 11 partners across New York, Washington, D.C., and California. The new practices have almost doubled their revenue each year, Baldiga said.
“For us to really grow this organically through some key lateral hires across four offices really speaks to our ability to make investments and to see them pay off,” Baldiga said.
Head count at the firm increased 2.4 percent to 217 lawyers. Its number of equity partners jumped 3.6 percent to 58 from 56 partners the year prior.
The firm’s international offices in Paris and London also grew substantially. At the end of 2017, the firm brought on Jamie Symington, former director of investigations at the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority. It also added ex-Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft partner Louisa Watt and former Ashurst partner Mark Lubbock over the year in London.
In May, the firm brought on Manatt, Phelps & Phillips litigation partner Benjamin Chew, whose clients include celebrities like Cher and Johnny Depp, to its offices in Irvine, California and Washington, D.C.
Since then, Depp has become a significant client for the firm. They’re representing the actor in a $25 million battle against his former managers, which settled in July, as well as in his $50 million defamation lawsuit against ex-wife Amber Heard.
Other prominent clients of the firm include Wynn Resorts, which Brown Rudnick is representing in regulatory proceedings before the Massachusetts Gaming Commission. Brown Rudnick’s restructuring practice was selected as litigation counsel to The Financial Oversight and Management Board of Puerto Rico in its ongoing insolvency proceedings. It is also handling Chapter 11 cases related to the General Motors ignition switch defect claims and against the Weinstein Co. related to abuse claims.
Baldiga said a core strength of the firm is its younger talent.
More than half of the firm’s revenue was generated by lawyers that are 50 and under, he said. Typically the key revenue producing years are in a lawyer’s 50s and 60s, not their 30s and 40s, he added. And that’s good news for the future of the firm.
“On top of all the investments, we have some real staying power here, and we are attracting young, ambitious, collaborative lawyers who see us as a great place to grow their practice,” Baldiga said. ”We feel our best is ahead of us.”