Proskauer Rose posted gains in every key financial category in 2012, as the firm saw its gross revenues climb 7.4 percent, to $736.5 million, and its profits per partner jump to an 8.8 percent increase, to $1.85 million, according to The American Lawyer‘s reporting. Revenue per lawyer rose a modest 1 percent, to $985,000.
Unlike most Am Law 100 firms, which follow a calendar year in calculating their annual finances, New York–based Proskauer closed its books October 31—a time when, as chairman Joseph Leccese notes, it and many other East Coast firms were struggling to overcome the adverse effects of Hurricane Sandy.
"We’re obviously very pleased in terms of where we ended up, given the economic difficulties everyone is facing," Leccese said Friday. "To perform at this level was quite satisfying to us."
An active lateral hiring agenda that included adding to the firm’s associate ranks as well as grabbing several partners from Dewey & LeBoeuf amid that firm’s collapse contributed to its overall attorney head count increasing by 43, to 746 lawyers. The partnership ranks rose by seven to 226 (a 3.2 percent gain), while the number of equity partners grew by 3, to 165 (an increase of less than 2 percent).
Proskauer was among the Am Law firms that gained the most from Dewey’s demise, hiring 13 partners all told, including a bankruptcy team led by Martin Bienenstock in New York, a four-partner securities litigation team led by Ralph Ferrara in Washington, D.C., and a pair of restructuring specialists in London. Leccese told The American Lawyer earlier this year that Proskauer acted quickly when it came to making many of the Dewey hires, closing a deal with Bienenstock in just six days. In September the firm also hired a team of capital markets lawyers in London, including a former Citigroup in-house counsel.
Leccese credits last year’s uptick in revenue to strong performance in all three of the firm’s main practice areas: corporate, litigation, and labor.
Proskauer’s sports practice worked on several major deals in 2012, including serving as corporate counsel to Major League Baseball in connection with the $2.15 billion bankruptcy of the Los Angeles Dodgers; representing a group of investors led by former Dodgers owner Peter O’Malley on its $800 million purchase of MLB’s San Diegro Padres; and advising truck stop magnate Jimmy Haslam in connection with his $1 billion purchase of the National Football League’s Cleveland Browns.
Proskauer’s other notable corporate deals included advising Ascena Retail Group on its $890 million acquisition of Lane Bryant owner Charming Shoppes and representing French hotel operator Accor on the sale of the Motel 6 chain to Blackstone Group for $1.9 billion.
Major labor matters include representing the National Hockey League and National Football League in collective bargaining negotiations and advising The New York Times in its contract negotiations with the Newspaper Guild of New York. On the litigation front, Proskauer lawyers represented Simon & Schuster in an antitrust lawsuit brought by the U.S. Department of Justice over the pricing of e-books. The litigation ended last fall in a settlement that requires the publisher to sever a contract with Apple.
The firm had a busy fourth quarter that will be reflected in next year’s numbers, according to Leccese, including representing the Leucadia board of directors in its $2.8 billion purchase of Jefferies Group in December and advising client American Realty Capital Trust on its $2.95 billion sale to Realty Income in November.
This report is part of The Am Law Daily’s early coverage of the 2012 financial results of The Am Law100/200. Click here to see an interactive chart comparing this firm’s 2012 finances to those of other Am Law 100 and Second Hundred firms that The Am Law Daily and its sibling publications have reported on to date. Final rankings and full results for The Am Law 100 will be published in The American Lawyer’s May 2013 issue and on AmericanLawyer.com. The Am Law Second Hundred will be published in the June issue.