The five Pennsylvania-based law firms on Legal affiliate The American Lawyer ‘s ranking of the second hundred largest law firms in the country did little moving up or down the chart despite most having increases in gross revenue in 2011.
The Am Law 200 firms collectively saw a 2.7 percent gain in gross revenue between 2010 and 2011, while Pennsylvania firms on the list experienced revenue gains of 3.7 percent.
Fox Rothschild had the largest change in gross revenue of any Pennsylvania Am Law 200 firm, increasing revenue 7.3 percent from $239.5 million in 2010 to $257 million in 2011. That wasn’t enough to move the firm far up the rankings. Fox Rothschild rose from 120th place last year to 118th place this year.
Ballard Spahr continues to be the first Pennsylvania firm to be found on The Am Law 200 despite falling one spot from 102nd to 103rd. The firm’s revenue rose 4.2 percent from $273.5 million to $285 million.
Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney fell one spot down the rankings to 115th. The firm grew its revenue 3 percent in 2011 to $257.5 million.
While Fox Rothschild, Ballard Spahr and Buchanan Ingersoll are typically in the top 25 of The Am Law 200, Saul Ewing and Stevens & Lee are found among the bottom 25 firms.
Saul Ewing rose one spot to 177th place after increasing revenue just under 1 percent from $121.5 million to $122.5 million.
Stevens & Lee fell two spots to 183rd after its gross revenue dropped by nearly 1 percent from $114 million to $113 million.
All of the five Pennsylvania firms aside from Saul Ewing increased their profits per equity partner (PPP) in 2011, while three of the five firms were able to increase revenue per lawyer (RPL).
According to The American Lawyer , the second hundred firms bested the first hundred on most counts but still fell short on the bottom line. The second hundred’s RPL rose 5.3 percent, but PPP rose just 2.2 percent, which was less than The Am Law 100′s 3 percent. The second hundred’s 2.7 percent gain in gross revenue in 2011 was outpaced by The Am Law 100′s 5.3 percent gain. And while the two groups had comparable profit margins, the second hundred had less success turning top-line growth into profits. The American Lawyer attributed that to steep expenses and a sharp drop in leverage.
Ballard Spahr grew gross revenue 4.2 percent from $273.5 million in 2010 to $285 million in 2011. The firm’s headcount, however, grew by 6.1 percent from 446 attorneys to 473. That larger rise in headcount as compared to revenue caused a decrease in the firm’s RPL of 1.6 percent from $615,000 in 2010 to $605,000 in 2011.
The firm was able to inch up its PPP by 1 percent from $525,000 to $530,000. Last year was the second year since Ballard Spahr moved to a one-tier partner system. The partner tier edged up 2.7 percent from 221 partners to 227 in 2011.
Ballard Spahr’s net income increased 3 percent from $116.5 million to $120 million, but the profit margin dipped a percentage point to 42 percent.
Buchanan Ingersoll increased revenue 3 percent from $250 million in 2010 to $257.5 million last year. The firm’s RPL grew just under 1 percent from $615,000 to $620,000 and its PPP rose 5.3 percent from $660,000 to $695,000. The firm’s headcount increased 2.2 percent from 406 attorneys to 415. The equity partner tier increased by one attorney to 103 equity partners. The nonequity tier grew by two attorneys to 89 nonequity lawyers. Buchanan Ingersoll’s average compensation for all partners increased 2.9 percent from $520,000 to $535,000.
The firm, whose fiscal year ends March 31, saw its revenue rise from $239.5 million in 2010 to $257 million in 2011, a 7.3 percent increase. Fox Rothschild also saw its PPP rise 3.5 percent, from $565,000 to $585,000, and its profit margin grow by 2 percentage points, from 32 to 34 percent. Its RPL rose 2.8 percent, from $530,000 in 2010 to $545,000 in 2011. Its average compensation for all partners rose 4.3 percent, from $470,000 to $490,000.
New additions also helped bulk up the firm’s headcount by 4.7 percent, from 450 attorneys in 2010 to 471 attorneys in 2011. The firm’s equity partner tier swelled by 14.5 percent, from 131 partners to 150. Meanwhile, the firm’s nonequity partner tier saw a steep 21.3 percent drop, from 75 in 2010 to 59 in 2011.
The firm’s revenue increased by about 0.8 percent, from $121.5 million in 2010 to $122.5 million in 2011. The firm’s PPP dipped by about 3 percent from $515,000 in 2010 to $500,000 in 2011. The firm’s headcount stayed nearly static in 2011, dropping by one attorney to 219 in 2011.
That slight change nudged the firm’s RPL up by 1.8 percent, from $550,000 to $560,000. Meanwhile, its equity partner tier grew by 3.8 percent, from 80 partners to 83, and its nonequity partner tier inched up by about 2.1 percent, from 48 attorneys to 49.
Stevens & Lee
Revenue dropped just less than 1 percent from $114 million in 2010 to $113 million in 2011. RPL fell 0.7 percent from $685,000 to $680,000, and Stevens & Lee’s PPP rose 1 percent from $1.005 million to $1.015 million. Average compensation for all partners dipped 0.7 percent to $690,000.
The firm’s net profits decreased 8.1 percent between 2010 and 2011, moving from $62 million to $57 million despite having a flat headcount and fewer equity partners. The firm’s profit margin fell from 54 percent in 2010 to 50 percent in 2011, still coming in as the highest of any Pennsylvania-based Am Law 100 or 200 firm.
Stevens & Lee’s headcount dropped by one lawyer to 166 in 2011. The equity partner tier fell 9.7 percent in 2011 from 62 equity partners to 56. The nonequity tier lost one lawyer, falling to 53.