The Score

February 22, 2012 5:25 PM

The Am Law 100, the Early Numbers: Proskauer Maintains Upward Trajectory

Posted by Sara Randazzo

In a year that saw it move into a new Manhattan headquarters and install a new chairman, Proskauer Rose increased its gross revenue 6.4 percent to $686 million last year and its average profits per partner 9 percent to $1.7 million, according to The American Lawyer's reporting.

"This is by far the strongest year we've ever had from every measure," says Joseph Leccese, who started his three-year term as firm chair in January 2011 after being the youngest person ever chosen for the post (Leccese was 49 when he was elected chair in fall 2010; he is now 51).

Last year was especially busy for Proskauer's marquee sports practice. The firm represented the National Football League as labor counsel in negotiations with the players union for a new collective bargaining agreement; the National Basketball Association in a labor dispute that delayed the start of that league's 2012 season; Major League Baseball on its new collective bargaining agreement, as well as on matters related to the Los Angeles Dodgers' bankruptcy; the new owners of both the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars and MLB's Houston Astros; and the Pac-12 in the creation of a TV network dedicated to broadcasting the conference's athletic contests.

The sports group's work helped make Proskauer a finalist in The American Lawyer's most recent Labor and Employment Litigation Department of the Year competition.

The firm's robust financial performance came amid a busy year for office moves. The most significant shuffle saw Proskauer move its New York headquarters to 11 Times Square last January. With more than 400,000 square feet of space spread across 14 floors, the firm is the new building's anchor tenant—with its name splashed across the facade in a 40-foot-by-10-foot backlit sign to prove it.

Elsewhere, Proskauer finally realized its longtime goal of opening a Beijing office, and moved its four-year-old Hong Kong office to what Leccese calls new "state-of-the-art space."

Proskauer also made major investments in technology at all 13 of its locations, Leccese says. 

On the personnel side, the firm brought on at least 11 senior attorneys, including four private equity partners in London; a pair of corporate partners in Hong Kong; M&A senior counsel Joseph Giunta from Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom in Los Angeles; capital markets partner Frank Zarb from Katten Muchin Rosenman in Washington, D.C.; bankruptcy and restructuring partner Geoffrey Raicht from McDermott Will & Emery in New York; and finance partner Andrew Bettwy and senior counsel Glen Lim from Skadden in New York.

There were also some departures, with the firm losing at least six partners to competitors including Irell & Manella, O'Melveny & Myers, Shearman & Sterling, and Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr.

The departures have had no impact on the firm, according to Leccese, who adds that Proskauer will continue to expand in key practice areas, including the finance practice generally, as well as the mergers and acquisitions group and the capital-markets group, particularly in the high-yield debt area. 

This report is part of The Am Law Daily's early coverage of 2011 financial results of The Am Law 100/200. 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. An interactive chart of the financial results reported so far is available here. The chart will be updated as additional data is reported.

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"This is by far the strongest year we've ever had from every measure," but, of course, even with record revenues and PPP, associate bonuses aren't going back to where they were a few years ago.

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