The Score

February 3, 2012 3:48 PM

The Am Law 100, the Early Numbers: Bryan Cave Comes Into Latest Tie-Up with Revenue on the Rise

Posted by Scott Graham

Bryan Cave is coming into its latest big merger from a position of strength.

The 1,100-lawyer St. Louis–based firm—which absorbed Denver-based Holme Roberts & Owen on January 1—saw steady growth across financial categories last year and nearly achieved a double-digit bump in profits per equity partner for the second straight year, according to The American's Lawyer's reporting.

After dipping slightly two years ago following the firm's 2009 merger with Atlanta's Powell Goldstein, Bryan Cave's gross revenue rose 3.3 percent in 2011 to $557.5 million. The firm's revenue per lawyer and profits per partner, meanwhile, continued their upward march. The former increased 6 percent last year, to $630,000, after rising 7 percent in 2010; the latter jumped 9 percent after a 13 percent rise in 2010.

The successful integration of Powell Goldstein was one factor driving last year's growth, according to firm chairman Don Lents, who said via e-mail that one-third of firm revenue now results from matters that originate in one practice group in a single office and are then worked on in other offices and practices.

"That kind of use of our 'platform' continues to grow," Lents added. "We expect to see similar opportunities with the combination with Holme Roberts & Owen....That kind of positioning in additional markets is a part  of our strategy."

Bryan Cave has law offices in 18 U.S. cities and six more spread across Asia and Europe. An affiliated trade and customs consulting business, Bryan Cave International Consulting, operates in seven Asian countries.

Litigation, especially related to the financial services industry, was a strength last year, with the firm handling high-profile matters for mortgage broker Stifel Nicolaus & Co. and Countrywide Bank, among others. Lents said M&A and restructuring were strong areas as well.

The increases in revenue per lawyer and profits per partner are partly the result of the firm's ability to increase revenues while shedding attorney head count slightly, from an average of 908 in 2010 to 884 last year (pre–Holme Roberts merger). Most of the shrinkage came in the ranks of nonequity partners, which dropped from 159 to 144. (The firm added two equity partners, bringing the total to 205.)

Lents said the drop in nonequity partners was not the result of the firm putting any extra pressure on those lawyers: "As with the rest of our personnel, we assess performance and progress on an individual basis."

This report is part of The Am Law Daily's ongoing Web coverage of 2011 financial results of The Am Law 100/200. Results are preliminary. Final rankings and full results for The Am Law 100 will be published in The American Lawyer's May 2012 issue and on The Am Law Second Hundred will be published in the June issue.

Make a comment

Comments (0)
Save & Share: Facebook | Del.ic.ious | | Email |

Reprints & Permissions


Report offensive comments to The Am Law Daily.

The comments to this entry are closed.

By: TwitterButtons.com

[email protected]

From the Newswire

Sign up to receive Legal Blog Watch by email
View a Sample