J. Henry Walker IV J. Henry Walker IV, chairman, Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton (Photo: John Disney/ALM)

Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton had a solid year in 2017 that ended with a big jump in profit.

Revenue increased by 1.8 percent to $424 million, and net income increased by 6 percent to $111 million, which pushed up profit per partner (PPP) over the $1 million mark to $1,011,000—a 10.3 percent increase. That followed a dip in PPP in 2016, when the firm added equity partners.

The firm’s head count was flat last year, with 574 lawyers and a slight decrease in equity partners from 114 to 110.

“We’re happy with how the year turned out,” said Kilpatrick’s chairman, Henry Walker IV. “We’re optimistic about 2018. It’s still a very competitive market, and we think we’re well-positioned.”

“It was a good financial year, but our firm is about more than just financial performance,” Walker added. “We are working hard to be a great place to work. I think we have a very collegial atmosphere and a group of people who like each other. That’s an important part of a partnership.”

Kilpatrick expanded its presence in Texas by opening a Houston office in October with a team of 13 construction lawyers from Houston’s Coats Rose, led by partners Patrick Gaas and Daniel Shank. The firm in March added bankruptcy and restructuring partner Lenard Parkins from Greenberg Traurig to expand that practice to Houston. That followed its launch of a Dallas office in 2015 by acquiring local firm Crouch & Ramey.

Walker said Kilpatrick has a number of significant clients with work in Texas, including Halliburton Co., Turner Industries Group, AT&T Corp., Oracle Corp. and Celanese Corp.

Kilpatrick has no immediate plans to add more locations, Walker said. “We’re happy with our current footprint, particularly with the growth in Dallas and Houston,” he said. “The economy is strong in every city where we have an office.”

The focus instead is on growth in existing offices, he added. “We did want to be in Dallas and Houston, but our footprint is covered otherwise.”

The Work

Kilpatrick saw “strong growth from some of our most significant clients,” Walker said, with 78 clients booking more than $1 million in fees.

The corporate practice handled deals and finance work for AT&T, Delta Air Lines, Aaron’s and Oldcastle, a global building materials company, he said.

The intellectual property practice, which includes the largest trademark practice in the country, handled work for Facebook, Adidas, Energizer, GoPro and Zodiac, Walker said, adding that Kilpatrick is managing the global trademark strategy for Facebook and several of its brands, such as Instagram.

“Our practices are increasingly focused on tech industries, with tech-related intellectual property, litigation and corporate work,” Walker said.

The firm handled quite a few high-profile IP litigation matters last year, including a patent infringement action against Broadcom and a patent infringement action on behalf of zipper-maker YKK against Velcro over hook-and-loop fasteners. YKK’s patent suit culminated in a weeklong jury trial in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia—the first patent jury verdict in Georgia in at least a decade. The jury found for Velcro, but YKK is not giving up.  

On the compliance front, the head of Kilpatrick’s government investigations team, Scott Marrah, was also named to the legal team monitoring the consent decree stemming from Volkswagen AG’s emissions scandal.

Kilpatrick lawyers and staff continued to stay active in pro bono matters last year, especially in representing immigrants facing imprisonment and deportation by the Trump administration. Several of the firm’s lawyers are participating in the Southern Poverty Law Center’s ambitious effort, dubbed the Southeast Immigrant Freedom Initiative, to provide representation for every detained immigrant in the region, starting with Stewart Detention Center in Middle Georgia.

The firm also is representing pro bono a group of Somali refugees from Minnesota, whom ICE is currently holding in South Florida after a botched deportation attempt in December in which ICE allegedly kept the Somalis bound and shackled on an airplane for nearly two days.