Gunster, one of Florida’s oldest law firms, reported that its revenues rose one percent to $95 million despite an eight percent reduction in its attorney roster.
As part of the Am Law 200 survey of the top 200 law firms by revenue in the country, the West Palm Beach-based firm reported barebones figures, including gross revenue, revenue per lawyer and lawyer head count. The firm does not report detailed financial information such as profits per partner, net income and profit margin.
CEO and managing shareholder H. William Perry. said revenue per lawyer was up 2.5 percent to $615,000 from $600,000 a year ago.
"I looked at last year as a transitional year," he said. "It was the last year of the recession and the first year of Florida entering into recovery."
Gunster’s strongest practice areas are litigation, which represents 40 percent of its revenues and lawyer head count; real estate, land use and property rights, which represents 20 percent; estate planning and tax and probate litigation, which represents 20 percent; and corporate and immigration, which represents 20 percent.
Gunster spent the year trying to boost its litigation practice and recruit more transactions lawyers. The firm added new partners around the state, including Amy Brigham Boulris and William Hill in Miami, Elaine Bucher in West Palm Beach and Timothy Thomas in the firm’s new Key Largo office.
The firm also opened in Orlando this week with three new lawyers and a lobbyist. The Tampa office opened in 2011.
"The Tampa and Orlando moves are coordinated," Perry said. "We want more of a presence in the I-4 corridor. We are already up and down the east coast of Florida, but we have to fortify our presence in the west. This puts us in the eight major commercial markets in Florida."
Like other Florida-only firms, including GrayRobinson and Shutts & Bowen, Gunster has no plans to open any offices outside Florida.
The firm’s total lawyer head count fell 8 percent from a high of 168 in 2011 to 155 in 2012.
Perry explained the loss as twofold: contract lawyers departing due to the end of a project and lawyers leaving for other opportunities as the normal ebb and flow a large law firm experiences.
Founded in 1925, Gunster is West Palm Beach’s oldest law firm. The firm operates other offices in Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Palm Beach, Stuart, Tallahassee and Vero Beach.