It was a familiar picture for New Jersey firms on the Am Law 200 this year, with moves up and down the board, but one firm joined the list for the first time.
Among the “second hundred” firms released by affiliate publication The American Lawyer are four New Jersey mainstays: Lowenstein Sandler; McCarter & English; McElroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney & Carpenter; and Gibbons.
But making the cut for the first time was Cole Schotz. It took the place of Archer, which slid off the board because of a year-over-year gross revenue dip.
“It’s certainly a milestone of sorts and a reflection of our growth, but not something we were focusing on as a goal to achieve,” said Glenn Kazlow, administrative partner at Cole Schotz.
Firms are ranked by fiscal 2017 firmwide revenue. The American Law reports that the overall outlook for second hundred firms is far bleaker than for those on the top half of the list: “The disparities between the groups’ reported numbers for 2017 are stark: 5.5 percent revenue growth for the Am Law 100 versus a 0.2 percent decline for the Second Hundred; 3.2 percent growth in revenue per lawyer versus a 0.3 percent decline; and 6.3 percent growth in profits per equity partner versus a 1.4 percent decline.”
Of course, the story varied widely by firm, and such was the case among the New Jersey contingent, too.
Here’s a five-year look at how the New Jersey firms have fared:
- Lowenstein Sandler is a steady riser, having climbed up the list for five consecutive years, this time jumping five spots, to No. 115, with $270.6 million in gross revenue. The firm had a 5.5 percent gross revenue increase, which easily led the way for New Jersey firms. Last year the firm ranked 120th, with $256.5 million in gross revenue; 122nd in 2016, with $252 million; 131st in 2015, with $229.5 million; and 133rd in 2014, with $222.5 million.
- Following consecutive years of revenue gains, McCarter & English‘s 2017 gross revenue, at $237.2 million, was essentially flat from the prior year. But that performance was good enough to climb one spot, to No. 125. Last year the firm ranked 126th, with $237 million in gross revenue; 128th in 2016, with $233 million; 134th in 2015, with $219.5 million; and 133rd in 2014, tied with Lowenstein, with $222.5 million.
- McElroy Deutsch saw gross revenue decrease 0.8 percent, to $117.9 million. It moved down three spots, to No. 181. Last year it ranked 178th, with $119 million in revenue; 176th in 2016, with $118.5 million; 180th in 2015, with $120 million; and 181st in 2014, with $122.5 million. The firm should see its revenue and attorney head count spike for 2018 after absorbing 20 lawyers from Graham Curtin earlier this year.
- A gross revenue decrease of 2.9 percent at Gibbons, to $99.4 million, means the firm slid five spots, to No. 194. Last year the firm ranked 189th, with $102.5 million in gross revenue. It ranked 185th in 2016, with $108 million; 186th in 2015, with $110 million; and 188th in 2014, with $114.5 million.
- Cracking the list, and sitting at No. 196 with $96.6 million in gross revenue, is Cole Schotz. Gross revenue increased 0.5 percent year-over-year. Kazlow said the firm keeps a close watch on financial metrics monthly, but doesn’t emphasize one particular metric. ”A lot of it’s informational, but we look for trends,” he said, which help determine “where we’re going to put our resources, in terms of not only marketing dollars and business development, but also how we’re going to deploy our people.”
Archer slid off the board after making it two consecutive years. Its $88 million gross revenue figure for 2017, a 3.1 percent decrease, put it below the 200th-ranked firm (New York-based Herrick Feinstein, which had a $94 million gross revenue figure). Last year Archer occupied the 200th spot, with $91 million. It ranked 199th in 2016, with $87 million gross. Before that, the firm’s lone Am Law 200 appearance was in 2013, when it ranked 195th, with $97 million in gross revenue.
Another New Jersey firm, Sills Cummis & Gross, has made the list in years past, but fell short this year. Nevertheless, the firm’s $87.9 million in gross revenue was a 1.6 percent gain from fiscal 2016.
Along with Cole Schotz, there are five other newcomers to this year’s list: Buchalter; Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott; Goldberg Segalla; Herrick Feinstein; and Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin.