Strasburger & Price‘s net income in 2017 increased 9 percent compared with 2016, but the firm’s gross revenue for the year rose only slightly.
Revenue for the Dallas-based firm, which is engaged in merger discussions with the Detroit firm Clark Hill, was $93,756,000 in 2017, up a mere 0.1 percent when compared with $93,700,000 in 2016. But net income grew significantly, to $29,487,000, compared with $27,060,000 the prior year.
Revenue per lawyer came in at $500,000 in 2017, up 4 percent when compared with $481,000 in 2016, while profits per partner were $421,000, up 2.7 percent from $410,000 the year before.
“We were pleased with how the year turned out in 2017,” said Dan Butcher, managing partner of the firm.
Butcher said a number of practice areas were strong in 2017, including tax, fiduciary and surety and real estate. He said litigation comprises more than half of the firm’s work, and several litigation areas were quite busy in 2017, including probate, employment, banking, environmental and energy. The firm’s intellectual property and transportation practices were also good producers in 2017, he said.
The firm’s corporate practice was busier in 2017 than in 2016, but “It’s still not up to where we had seen it a few years ago,” Butcher said.
He also said the firm benefited in 2017 from a number of contingency-fee matters—what the firm calls success fee-based matters—but he declined to identify any of them.
In April 2017, Strasburger opened an office in Beaumont, Texas, about two hours east of Houston, with two lateral partners who do admiralty and maritime law. Butcher said that office opening was not a major expense for the firm.
In addition to Dallas and Beaumont, the firm has offices in Austin, Frisco, Houston, San Antonio, Mexico City, New York and Washington, D.C.
Hurrican Harvey, which hit Houston and the Gulf Coast in late August, affected the firm’s financials, Butcher said. The storm, which caused massive flooding, shuttered law firm offices in Houston for several days. “We had some people who couldn’t work because of the hurricane,” he said, noting that clients were also affected.
The firm’s lawyer headcount for 2017 was 188 lawyers on a full-time-equivalent basis, down 3.6 percent when compared with 195 in 2016. Butcher said the firm lost a number of lawyers to in-house positions in 2017 and saw some other departures as well. But but he noted that the firm also made several lateral hires, including a group of six lawyers that joined the firm in three offices in January from the defunct Fort Worth firm Shannon, Gracey, Ratliff & Miller.
Butcher said 2018 is starting off well, with the tax practice being particularly busy as clients turn to the firm with questions about the new federal tax law. “We keep track of how much people are working day by day. So far we are ahead of last year, and probably ahead of any year in the last years,” he said.