Last year was lackluster for Arnall Golden Gregory, after two previous years of double-digit profit increases and significant revenue jumps.
"It was a very mixed year," said managing partner Glenn Hendrix. "We started out the year very strong in the first quarter and we finished very strong. The fourth quarter of 2012 was our strongest quarter ever. But the middle six months really slowed down."
Hendrix said the lull in activity in the middle two quarters was because transactions decreased and the firm settled a couple of big cases.
"It was like two different years," he said, adding that the strong quarters were not enough to make up for the slowdown.
Arnall Golden ended the year with a $500,000 drop in revenue to $70.1 million.
Net income fell $3.9 million to $23.8 million—a 14 percent decline. The firm’s equity partner head count remained consistent at 40, and profit per equity partner took the same 14 percent hit, going from $692,925 to $596,200.
The firm’s total head count increased by seven lawyers, to 139. Combined with the 0.7 percent revenue decrease, that pushed down revenue per lawyer by $30,500, almost 6 percent, to $504,300.
The dips followed a 14 percent revenue increase in 2011 and a whopping 18 percent PPEP increase of $107,425.
Hendrix said several factors contributed to the 2012 profit decrease: lower fee revenue from the firm’s Atlanta office and the absence of rent concessions that boosted profit in 2011.
Arnall Golden renewed its lease at Atlantic Station in mid-2011, gaining initial rent concessions that boosted profit that year. The firm also reduced its square footage to five floors, giving up the 16th half floor, which Hendrix said produced short-term savings that translated into profit in 2011.
The firm’s total billable hours were slightly lower last year than in 2011, Hendrix said. The firm raised rates, but "not significantly," he said, and collections were about the same.
Arnall Golden added a four-lawyer Miami office focused on global logistics at the beginning of 2012—its second outside of Atlanta. It had added a Washington office in January 2011.
The Miami lawyers were recruited from Hyman, Spector & Mars, including name partner Andrew Spector and another partner, Marc Rubin.
Hendrix said the global logistics practice is working out well. The firm has added two lawyers to the office.
The Washington office has expanded from four lawyers to 10 and in October moved to new space on Pennsylvania Avenue. Its focus is privacy and consumer regulatory work and government investigations—areas that are doing well, Hendrix said.
Government investigations is "a booming area generally, and for us, specifically," he said.
The practice is doing well enough that the firm recruited Sara Lord as a partner and Alan Horowitz as of counsel. Lord spent 18 years as an assistant U.S. attorney in the Northern District of New York and Horowitz had been an assistant regional counsel for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
In January the firm added another partner and of counsel to the practice—Jeffrey Jacobovitz from McCarthy, Sweeney & Harkaway and David Felt from his own firm. Jacobovitz is a litigator specializing in antitrust work and Felt advises banking and financial industry clients in investigations and regulatory matters.
In Atlanta, Arnall Golden recruited partners Chip Presten, who handles M&A and private equity deals, from Schiff Hardin and David Marmins, a litigator focused on real estate and bankruptcy disputes, from Balch & Bingham.
Managing partner Glenn Hendrix said several factors contributed to the 2012 profit decrease: lower fee revenue from the firm’s Atlanta office and the absence of rent concessions that boosted profit in 2011.