200 Richest Firms, K&L Gates, Locke Lord: Business of Law

Despite having almost the same rate of revenue growth, the second-hundred wealthiest American law firms are managing their business differently in one significant way: They are bolstering their lawyer count, which is in sharp contrast to the top 100 most-profitable law firms in the country, according to an annual survey by the American Lawyer Magazine.

The wealthiest 100 firms had gross revenue growth of 3.4 percent, while the second hundred had a 3.2 percent increase, according to the magazine. The second hundred, or Am Law 200 firms, boosted their lawyer headcount by 3 percent, with a 10.1 percent jump in non-equity partners, the magazine said. That’s compared to the top tier, Am Law 100 firms, which had a 0.8 percent increase in lawyers overall and 2.5 percent gain in non-equity partners, the magazine said.

The second-hundred firms are betting that lower rates will send more work their way and that investing in new partners is the right approach for the expected boom, the magazine said.

At the top of the list ranking the second-hundred wealthiest law firms is Cozen O’Connor, with $310.5 million gross revenue. That firm was followed by Barnes & Thornburg LLP, Ballard Spahr LLP, Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky & Popeo PC and Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP, in that order. At the bottom of the list was Strasburger & Price LLP, with gross revenue of $90.5 million.

K&L Gates LLP topped the list of profit per partner among the second-hundred firms with $900,000, a position shared with Shook, Hardy & Bacon LLP, for whom that number represented a 15.9 percent drop in profit for its lawyers from last year.

The magazine reported the numbers based on a combination of self-reporting by law firms and estimates by the magazine’s reporters for firms that don’t cooperate.

The second tier of Am Law 200 firms had average profit per partner of $696,576, an increase of 2.4 percent, the magazine said. The Am Law 100 firms had a 4.2 percent increase to $1.5 million profit per partner.

Ice Miller LLP, with 32.5 percent and Holland & Hart LLP, with 22.1 percent, had the greatest revenue gains on the chart. Fitzpatrick, Cella, Harper & Scinto, with an 8.8 percent decrease, has the biggest loss.

For more, see the American Lawyer website, here.

Firm News

Ex-Dewey Chairman Davis, XL Settlement Approved by Judge

An agreement by the former chairman of Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP, Steven Davis, to pay the bankrupt law firm $511,000 in return for a waiver of claims against him, and for insurer XL Specialty Insurance Co. to contribute $19 million to the estate, was approved by a New York bankruptcy judge on May 30.

The product of a 2007 merger between Dewey Ballantine and LeBoeuf, Lamb, Green & MacRae, the firm at one point had more than 1,300 attorneys in 12 countries. The liquidation began under Chapter 11 in May 2012. At the outset of bankruptcy, there was secured debt of about $225 million and accounts receivable of $217.4 million, the firm previously said. The petition listed assets of $193 million and liabilities of $245.4 million.

Dewey’s liquidating Chapter 11 plan was approved by the bankruptcy court in February and implemented in March. The firm estimated that midpoint recoveries for secured and unsecured creditors under the plan would be 58.4 percent and 9.1 percent, respectively.

The settlement protects Davis and the insurers from individual creditors suing them.

The bankruptcy case is In re Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP, 12-bk-12321, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

Moves

K&L Gates Adds Partner and Two Counsel in Asia Expansion

K&L Gates LLP added Virginia Tam, formerly of White & Case LLP, as a partner in the corporate and transactional practice in the firm’s Hong Kong office.

Additionally, the firm hired a counsel, who was previously in house at Samsung Electronics, in the intellectual property practice in Hong Kong and a counsel from Clifford Chance LLP in the litigation and dispute resolution practice in Seoul.

Tam is dually qualified in New York and Hong Kong. She focuses her practice on cross-border corporate transactions involving publicly traded companies as well as advises clients on private equity financing, mergers and acquisitions, and public offerings in the U.S. and Hong Kong, the firm said in a statement.

“We continue to expand our Hong Kong and Seoul offices in line with an increase in cross-border corporate transactions and litigation cases throughout the Asia Pacific region,” David K.Y. Tang, K&L Gates’s managing partner for Asia, said in a statement.

Tam is the third new partner to join K&L Gates’s Hong Kong office this year.

K&L Gates has lawyers in 48 offices in the U.S., Asia, Australia, Europe, the Middle East and South America.

Locke Lord Adds Los Angeles Corporate Partner Dienes

Louis Dienes joined Locke Lord LLP’s Los Angeles office as a partner in the corporate practice group. He was previously at TroyGould PC.

Dienes has experience working with clients in mergers, acquisitions and divestitures, equity and debt financings, and business operations. He has represented businesses, investment banks and investors in more than 150 private offerings of securities and offerings of partnership and limited liability company securities, the firm said.

Locke Lord has more than 650 lawyers in 11 U.S. offices.

Lane Powell Hires Four Business Lawyers in Seattle and Portland

Four attorneys, including two shareholders, join Lane Powell LLP’s business practice group. In Seattle, the firm hired Patrick J. Franke, a shareholder, along with two attorneys, all of who were previously at Graham & Dunn, where Franke was chairman of the firm’s corporate practice group, the firm said.

Franke has a corporate and transactional practice with a focus on providing strategic counsel to his client’s owners, boards of directors and management on a range of business matters, such as capitalization, restructuring and governance, the firm said. He also advises clients on corporate financings, mergers and acquisitions, licensing and distribution transactions, and other commercial matters.

In Portland, Oregon, A. Jeffery Bird, also joins as a shareholder. He was previously a shareholder at Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt PC where he headed the firm’s business transitions practice group and co-headed the firm’s corporate finance and securities group.

Bird will concentrate his practice on complex business transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, public and private securities offerings, tender offers, proxy contests and other matters, the firm said. He has experience with SEC compliance matters, and he advises public companies on Dodd-Frank and Sarbanes-Oxley compliance issues, among other matters, the firm said.

Lane Powell has more than 200 attorneys in six offices in Washington state, Oregon, Alaska and London.

Delegal Joins Holland & Knight’s Government Advocacy Team

Holland & Knight LLP announced the expansion of the firm’s Florida government advocacy team with the addition of partner Mark Delegal and an associate in Tallahassee. Both attorneys were previously with Pennington PA.

Delegal practices in the area of government affairs and represents insurance companies, as well as hospitals, physicians, local governments and businesses. His clients include State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., the Florida Chamber of Commerce, New York Life Insurance, Shands Healthcare, and the University of Florida College of Medicine, the firm said.

Delegal also was general counsel to the Safety Net Hospital Alliance of Florida and is involved in the Medicaid appropriations process for public hospitals and other health care entities statewide.

“Mark Delegal has done exceptional work for his insurance and health-care clients and has a stellar reputation in the legal and lobbying community,” Bob Martinez, chairman of the firm’s Florida government advocacy team, said in a statement.

Holland & Knight has 1,000 lawyers in 17 U.S. offices as well as Abu Dhabi, Beijing, Bogota and Mexico City.

Day Pitney Adds New Jersey Real Estate Partner

Day Pitney LLP announced that Craig Gianetti joined the firm as partner in the real estate, land use and environmental department. He joins the firm from Giordano Halleran & Ciesla PC in Monmouth County, New Jersey.

His practice focuses on commercial and residential real estate transactional matters, land use and redevelopment, and construction and contract litigation. He also handles commercial and residential land use development approvals, and due diligence research as well as prepares detailed reports on the viability of real estate projects.

Day Pitney has more than 300 attorneys in nine U.S. northeastern offices.

Nelson Mullins Adds Privacy and Data Security Partner

Privacy and data security lawyer David F. Katz joined Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP’s Atlanta office as a partner. He was previously counsel at Aaron’s Inc., a sales and lease company in residential furniture, consumer electronics, home appliances, and accessories with more than 2,000 company-operated and franchised stores in 48 states and Canada.

Katz counsels clients on the development, management and oversight of privacy and compliance programs. He also assists them in developing policies and procedures, education strategies, implementation of auditing and monitoring controls, reviews of disciplinary and enforcement activities, and risk assessments.

Nelson Mullins has more than 470 attorneys and government relations professionals with offices in the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia.

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