Bilzin, Sumberg, Baena, Price & Axelrod, a single-office law firm in Miami, continued its considerable year-over-year growth in 2012, reporting gross revenue of $79.5 million for the year.
The firm, which has 101 lawyers, grew in nearly every financial category, including revenue per lawyer, profits per partner and net income.
Bilzin reported profits per partner of $1.66 million, which is on the high end for U.S. law firms. Bilzin listed profits per partner of $1.58 million in 2011. The firm formed in 1998 has 23 equity partners and 24 non-equity partners. Revenue per lawyers totaled $790,000.
Gross revenue also grew considerably in the last year from $66 million, a boost of 19 percent.
Abbe Bunt, a law firm recruiter with Bunt Legal Search in Hollywood, said she is not surprised by Bilzin’s record year.
"They have a winning formula on every count," she said. "The formula is very smart people firmwide, good billing rates, marquee clients, excellent management and quick response time. I think they get called a lot to merge with other firms, but they have no need to do it with profits and revenue like that."
While it might seem surprising for a firm Bilzin’s size to only have one office, Bunt said that’s the key to the firm’s success.
"They maintain tight control by being one office," she said. "Everyone from the management to senior staff are all just down the hall from one another, so there’s no lag time in getting help and respond to clients."
Bilzin partner Al Dotson, an executive committee member, said, "We don’t grow by growing offices. We have been very strategic as a firm. When you have the ability to grow across multiple geographies but your overhead is limited by having a single office, there are economies of scale that can be created. We are a firm that is conservative in how we budget."
Keeping expenses low is how Bilzin has been able to generate a 48 percent profit margins — well above many firms.
Another reason Bilzin had a stellar year was due to the addition of rainmaker Marty Steinberg, Dotson said. Steinberg represents Fortune 500 clients including Burger King and Ryder System Inc., and handles bet-the-company litigation. He moved to Bilzin with his group from Hunton & Williams last year.
Bilzin, which has strong real estate and government relations practices, also benefitted from a rebounding commercial real estate market in South Florida and a number of public-private partnerships in the works.
For example, Bilzin representsa group bidding on the $1 billion redevelopment of the Miami Beach Convention Center and surrounding 52 acres. Bilzin also represents Genting, the Malaysian developer that bought The Miami Herald property with the intent of turning it into a casino resort.
Bilzin’s largest practice areas are real estate, which represents 40 percent of the firm’s business; litigation, including the intellectual property group, representing 26 percent; corporate, representing 11 percent; and bankruptcy representing 7 percent.
Bilzin does considerable cross-border work representing clients in Latin America, Asia, Europe and the Middle East in tax, real estate and corporate matters.
Bilzin did drop in one category. It lists 101 attorneys, down from 107 last year.
"They always hover around the 100-lawyer mark," Bunt said.