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February 6, 2009 12:24 PM

THE AM LAW 100: Seyfarth Reports Increase in Gross, Profits

Posted by Alison Frankel

Like other firms with strong labor and employment practices, Chicago-based Seyfarth Shaw is reporting gains, albeit modest, in both gross and net in 2008. Seyfarth's gross revenue was up 5.5 percent to $467 million. Net profit increased by 3.5 percent to $156 million. Because the 739-lawyer firm had a small dip in its number of equity partners, profits per partner were up 5.5 percent, to $739,000.

Seyfarth's chairman, J. Stephen Poor, says several factors contributed to the firm's gains. Its employment practice had a strong year, particularly in the area of counseling clients seeking to change their employment benefits structure. Seyfarth's middle-market corporate practice, Poor says, "held up fairly well." Even the firm's real estate lawyers, though deal work was slow, had clients involved in workouts and reorganizations.

Most importantly, Poor says, was Seyfarth's anticipation of a downturn. "Everyone loves rate-insensitive work," he says. "But we realized several years ago: That model is fundamentally flawed. We realized a day like this would come." Poor says the firm has been working with clients for several years to provide more cost-effective services. For many, he says, Seyfarth has cut legal expenses by double digits. "As clients face challenges," Poor says, "that really began to be useful."


Click here for The Am Law 100 - A Work In Progress, a chart tracking 2008 financials. Final published
results of last year's Am Law 100 ranking are available here.

This report is part of The Am Law Daily's ongoing Web coverage of The Am Law 100s 2008 financials, bringing you our own reports and those from our sibling publications at Incisive Media. Results are preliminary.

Final rankings and full results for The Am Law 100 will be published in The American Lawyer's May issue and on AmericanLawyer.com. The Am Law Second Hundred will be published in the June issue.

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