Editor’s Note: Welcome to the 22nd edition of PaLaw: Annual Report on the Legal Profession. Each year we use this magazine to provide a detailed view of the state of the law in Pennsylvania, from one corner of the state (and the profession) to the other. Our aim is to cover all aspects of the law in Pennsylvania, including both the public and private sectors. In doing so, we look back at the year we’ve nearly completed, and ahead at the year to come. The articles, tables, charts and graphs in these pages represent a finger on the pulse of the legal community at this moment in time. It was another year of growth for Pennsylvania law firms, as Lizzy McLellan writes in her Firm Financials roundup on page 96. The only declines Pennsylvania’s largest firms experienced, in both revenue and profits per equity partner, were modest. Corporate practices helped buoy a year of nearly across-the-board growth in revenue. And, as Gina Passarella’s article on our 20th annual Managing Partners Survey, on page 76, points out, firms found a way to pay associates more and require fewer layoffs, all while watching financial metrics rise.
After predicting the onset of stratification among Pennsylvania firms in these pages last year, editor-in-chief Hank Grezlak writes this year, on page 94, that individual firm performance is expected to be a point of focus. Taking into account a variety of surveys and data from national banks and consultants, he finds slightly less optimism than can be found in the Managing Partners Survey about revenue and demand for 2016.
The same firms once again make up the 10 largest in Pennsylvania based on full-time head count, but those head counts have taken a dip in some cases. Total head count in Pennsylvania offices among those firms dropped nearly 3 percent since last year, with only three of those firms gaining attorneys since last year’s survey. Pepper Hamilton takes the top spot for the second year in a row, adding six attorneys to boast a complement of 309 attorneys in the Keystone State—the only firm to break 300.
As part of our survey of the state’s largest firms, we once again feature information on the ethnic and gender breakdown at those firms, as they continue to make efforts at improving diversity among their ranks. Among firms that responded to questions regarding their attorney population, 7 percent of attorneys are minorities, up from 6.5 percent last year. And 29 percent of those attorneys are women, a slight increase over the 28.7 percent reported last year. There is much more information to be found within these pages, including details on the legal departments of Pennsylvania’s largest public corporations, the highest verdicts and settlements recorded over the past year and information on government lawyers. There’s quite a bit of work that goes into compiling all the information in this magazine, and couldn’t be done without the help of a few key members of our staff.
Brian Harris, our director of information and technology, manages the various databases of survey results we receive, which then get turned into the charts and graphs throughout the magazine. Gina Passarella, our senior staff reporter and special projects editor, along with Hank Grezlak and Lizzy McLellan, contributed deeply researched and informed articles to help put the Pennsylvania legal profession in perspective.
And this year I have the privilege of introducing you to Kristie Rearick, our incoming magazines and supplements editor, who has been critical in producing this year’s magazine and will be handling all our similar projects going forward.
We couldn’t put this magazine together without our audience, which plays a crucial part by responding to surveys and answering our reporters’ questions. We hope you’ll find the information in this magazine reflective of the many facets of the legal profession in Pennsylvania, and please feel free to share your input on the magazine with us. But first, enjoy!