Proskauer Rose recorded gains in every major financial metric in 2013, including a gross revenue increase of 4.3 percent, to $768.5 million, according to The American Lawyer’s reporting. Aided by a drop in head count, revenue per lawyer shot up 9.6 percent, to $1.08 million, while profits per equity partner rose 5.4 percent, to $1.95 million.
“The growth was nicely distributed across major areas,” says Proskauer chair Joseph Leccese, citing a stream of M&A deals, real estate matters, sports law engagements and litigation assignments.
On the M&A front, Proskauer lawyers advised Los Angeles–based investment firm Ares Management and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board in September on the pair’s $6 billion purchase of Neiman Marcus, and in November represented longtime client Grifols in the Spanish health care company’s acquisition of Novartis’ blood transfusion diagnostics unit for $1.7 billion.
“For the first time in a long time, we saw a really significant surge in real estate transactions at the upper end,” Leccese says, including advising Malkin Holdings on its initial public offering of Empire State Building owner Empire State Realty Trust, and representing real estate investment trust American Realty Capital Properties in its $11.2 billion acquisition of Phoenix-based rival Cole Real Estate Investments. (The American Realty deal earned two Proskauer partners Dealmaker of the Week honors from The Am Law Daily in October.)
The firm’s high-profile sports practice grabbed headlines in October when Major League Baseball retained Proskauer lawyers to defend it against a lawsuit brought by Alex Rodriguez alleging that the league engaged in a “witch hunt” designed to impugn Rodriguez’s character and cost him millions of dollars in endorsement deals. Rodriguez agreed in February to accept a suspension and dropped his litigation against the league, which in turn gave up its own Biogenesis-related litigation in Florida last month.
Leccese says the firm’s drop in attorney head count—from 746 in 2012 to 712 last year—puts them roughly back to where they were in 2011. The firm experienced a one-year growth spurt in 2012, he says, primarily due to deferred associates arriving in the fall of 2011 (the firm starts its fiscal year in November). “Through natural attrition that has leveled out,” he says.
The number of equity partners at Proskauer rose slightly to 171 from 165, and the nonequity tier remained the same at 61.
The firm didn’t expand significantly in any one practice area or geography in 2013, Leccese says, or make any significant real estate changes in its 13 offices. Lateral hires included the arrival of labor and employment lawyer Connie Bertram from Cooley in Washington, D.C.; Kevin Hackett from commercial real estate company The Rockefeller Group in New York; and private equity partner Steven Peck from Weil, Gotshal & Manges in Boston.
New York’s longtime corporation counsel, Michael Cardozo, also returned to Proskauer following the administration change in the New York mayor’s office from Michael Bloomberg to Bill de Blasio.
Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court dealt Proskauer some bad news, ruling that private investors who lost money in Allen Stanford’s $7 billion Ponzi scheme can move ahead with state law class actions against Proskauer, Chadbourne & Parke and an insurance broker. Leccese says the litigation shouldn’t affect the firm at all in 2014. “We’re four-and-a-half years into it,” he says. “We’ll have to fight the case one way or the other. We’ll be back in court.”
Overall, Leccese says, “it was a solid year across the board, and we’re optimistic about 2014.”
This report is part of The Am Law Daily’s early coverage of 2013 financial results of The Am Law 100/200. Final rankings and full results for The Am Law 100 will be published in The American Lawyer’s May 2014 issue and on AmericanLawyer.com. The Am Law Second Hundred will be published in the June issue.