Corporate, real estate, energy and labor practice areas were "drivers" that helped Jackson Walker of Dallas improve its gross revenue and net income in 2012, managing partner C. Wade Cooper says.
In 2012, the firm’s gross revenue was $203 million, up 4.6 percent from 2011, and net income was $80.5 million, up 3.9 percent from the previous year. Revenue per lawyer was $620,000, up 2.5 percent, and average profits per partner were $855,000, an increase of 6.2 percent from 2011.
Cooper says 12 of the firm’s 14 practice areas improved revenue in 2012 compared to 2011. The exceptions were bankruptcy, because the firm has finished up work for a "hugely active" client; and intellectual property, because it’s a small practice group and the firm lost a couple of its IP lawyers during the year, he says.
But other practice areas were so busy they more than made up for any declines, the Austin lawyer says.
"Corporate generally was up, and, obviously, the fiscal cliff issues drove some activity in the fourth quarter. Anybody that had a transaction that had potential capital gain treatment was interested in having that done by year-end. That drove various things, but across the board real estate was up, corporate was a little more robust, and energy was driving," he says, noting that litigation was also strong.
Cooper says the firm’s collections were also good in 2012, particularly at year end.
"I don’t know if that’s a sign the economy was better, because we had seen good collections the year before, or a sign the client base was stronger," he says.
All told, Cooper says Jackson Walker played "small ball" during 2012. "We pay a lot of attention to financial hygiene, meaning it’s important to get time entered, bills out, bills collected, keeping the overhead lower than our competition, keeping our rates a little lower than our competition. For us to pay market [salary] rates, we have to be more efficient," he says.
The firm’s lawyer count changed little, with a full-time equivalent of 328 lawyers in 2012, compared to 321 the year before.
The firm added one office in 2012 — Texarkana — staffed by David Folsom, a former U.S. District judge in the Eastern District of Texas.
Other offices are in Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, San Angelo and San Antonio.
This report is part of Texas Lawyer‘s coverage of the 2012 financial results of the 25 highest-grossing Texas-based firms as part of the AmLaw 100 and Second Hundred reports. The American Lawyer, a Texas Lawyer affiliate, will publish full results for the AmLaw 100 in May. The Am Law Second Hundred will be published in June.