Steven Sonberg, managing partner of Holland & Knight in Miami. (Photo: AM Holt)
Holland & Knight continued to show strong growth in 2016, with an increase in gross revenue of 8 percent and a rise in net income of 8.4 percent compared with 2015.
The firm’s gross revenue hit $803 million in the firm’s eighth consecutive year of gains, and net income rose by $18.5 million to $238.5 million. The firm also said it maintained its 30 percent profit margin for a second straight year. With the higher net income, profits per equity partner rose to $1.3 million—an increase of 3.2 percent.
“We were able to hold our expenses despite having significant increases in associate compensation,” Holland & Knight managing partner Steve Sonberg said.
Like many of the Am Law 100 firms, market forces pushed Holland & Knight to raise associate’s salaries again last year. The firm had anticipated and budgeted for an associate salary increase and brought first-year associate salaries up to $180,000.
Holland & Knight also reported it raised billing rates in 2016 and predicts it will in 2017 as well. Realization rates improved slightly due to improved collection methods, the firm said.
“The firm has no reliance on debt to finance its operations, and we have not relied on financing for many years at this point,” said Holland & Knight operations and finance partner Douglas A. Wright.
Holland & Knight added 30 attorneys, including 14 equity and nonequity partners, to bring its total full-time-equivalent lawyer count to 1,074. The firm has 185 equity partners and 379 nonequity partners.
Sonberg said the firm is looking to hire and plans to expand its practices in financial services, enforcement and white-collar defense, real estate and intellectual property. The firm’s involvement in Latin America, particularly capital markets in Latin America, is also growing.
Last year the firm opened offices in Charlotte, North Carolina; Stamford, Connecticut; and London—locations that Sonberg said are a good fit for the firm’s growth strategy, which focuses on six industries. These are: health care, real estate, technology, transportation, financial services and energy.
Sonberg said that opening an office in Charlotte gave the firm an opportunity to get closer to several large banking clients. The decision to open a London office came about as a result of the firm’s expanding aviation finance practice. Stamford offered growth in the private equity and mergers and acquisitions practice, which is an important area for the firm, although not one of the focus areas. The firm added about 25 attorneys last year in the private equity and acquisitions area, which proved a strong performer, Sonberg said.
“We think that’s something that’s going to be an important driver for us in 2017 and going forward,” Sonberg said.
Intellectual property also proved to be a strong practice for Holland & Knight last year.
“We are continuing to expand and invest in that,” Sonberg said. “We think that will be a strength for the firm and a growing area for us in the coming years.”
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