Alan S. Waldenberg of Schulte Roth & Zabel. (Rhamelin)
Schulte Roth & Zabel posted modest increases in its financial results in 2016, seeing its gross revenue edge close to $410 million and profits per partner approach $2.4 million.
Following a steady 2015, the firm’s key financial metrics all grew by less than 3 percent in 2016. Gross revenue jumped up $4 million to $409.5 million in 2016, a 1 percent increase over 2015, while the firm’s net income of $198.5 million in 2016 marked a 0.3 percent increase over the prior year.
The firm saw slightly larger percentage increases in profits per partner, which grew by 2.6 percent to $2.39 million in 2016, and in revenue per lawyer, which increased 2.2 percent to $1.165 million in 2016. Schulte Roth saw a slight decline in its lawyer head count, however. The total number of lawyers shrank to 351 in 2016 from 355 in 2015, and the firm’s equity partner ranks dropped to 83 lawyers in 2016, compared with 85 in the prior year.
Schulte Roth’s executive committee chairman Alan Waldenberg said the firm’s overall business remained steady in 2016, as it has for the past several years. “We don’t have peaks; we don’t have valleys,” said Waldenberg. “We’re very comfortable doing what we do. … Because of that we have a very consistent performance.”
Waldenberg added that the firm has kept up its historical place in the market and retained relationships with its past clients. He also said that some of the firm’s recent lateral hires—including a broker-dealer group that joined in March from Bracewell—have fit well within the firm and have given Schulte Roth a boost in the types of services it could offer clients.
And while the firm’s overall performance was steady, Waldenberg noted that some practices were busier than others. Schulte Roth’s activist investor corporate practice—which counts hedge funds Elliott Management Corp., GreenLight Capital Inc. and Jana Partners as clients—”hit it out of the park” in 2016 and has remained active in the first quarter of 2017, said Waldenberg.
The firm’s mergers and acquisitions and business reorganization group teamed up in 2016 to represent Albertsons LLC in connection with a purchase of 29 grocery stores as part of Haggen Holdings’ Chapter 11 bankruptcy case.
Waldenberg also said the litigation group was busy in 2016, although that area was a little slower than it has been in the past. Among other cases, Schulte Roth has recently represented Black Diamond Management and Spectrum Investment Partners in litigation against Yucaipa Cos. stemming from a Black Diamond and Spectrum investment in Allied Systems Inc., a heavy machinery manufacturing and engineering company.
In 2016, Schulte Roth secured a notable result in that dispute, convincing a Delaware federal judge to dismiss a $175 million claim against Black Diamond and Spectrum under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act.
Waldenberg said he’s optimistic about his firm’s prospects in 2017—after the first few months, he said the firm’s been seeing more M&A activity and its activist investor and hedge fund practices have remained very active.
“Consistency is good with us, stability is good with us,” he said. “We like having an integrated business where we all work together.”
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Scott Flaherty covers the business of law with a special focus on plaintiffs firms. He can be reached at email@example.com. On Twitter: @sflaherty18.