Updated 10:30 a.m., 2/29/12
Bolstered by the success of Arent Fox's intellectual property, health care and life science practices, the firm last year saw revenue per lawyer tick up nearly 6 percent, with gross revenue coming in at more than 3 percent over the previous year, our reporting shows.
Mark Katz, the Arent Fox chairman, said the firm enjoyed a strong year in 2011. Gross revenue was up 3.1 percent, to $230.5 million. Revenue per lawyer increased to $730,000, up 5.8 percent from the previous year.
Profits per partner ticked up to $830,000, 3.8 percent above the previous year. Net income was largely flat, up to $84.5 million, or about 0.6 percent from 2010.
Katz, who practices in commercial real estate, joint ventures and transactional work, said the firm’s intellectual property, life sciences and health care groups enjoyed a breakout year.
Companies are tenaciously defending their intellectual property rights, Katz said. “In this environment, companies are very aggressive in filing and pursuing patent applications,” he said. “That’s been a great strength for us.” Katz said he predicts IP will be strong this year as well.
“We have performed extremely well through the most difficult time that any one of us have seen or hopefully will ever see,” Katz said. “Our model has stood the test of time.”
Earlier this month, Arent Fox, representing Advanced Aerospace Technologies, Inc. sued The Boeing Company and a subsidiary, Insitu, Inc., seeking more than $160 million in royalties in a civil action that alleged patent infringement. The suit centers on the technology Boeing and Insitu use to retrieve unmanned aerial vehicles at the end of the flight.
Arent Fox is also handling trademark enforcement issues flowing from New York Knicks breakout basketball star Jeremy Lin and the word “Linsanity.” The firm recently filed an application on behalf of Lin. Katz said he could not immediately discuss the application.
Last year, Arent Fox represented the Los Angeles Lakers in a 20-year media rights deal with Time Warner Cable. Rich Brand, the chair of the firm's sports practice, called the transaction "game-changing" in a statement at the time.
In other areas of the law, Katz said, the firm was particularly strong in multifamily real estate. He said multifamily housing continues to be a favored asset class for investors.
Arent Fox in January celebrated the five-year anniversary of the opening of the firm’s Los Angeles office. The office, which began with 13 lawyers, including two from Washington, now features more than 60 attorneys. Katz said the firm has its eyes on opening an office in San Francisco “with the right opportunity.”
Later this year, Arent Fox is expected to move into a new office building in D.C., at the corner of K Street and Connecticut Avenue NW, just around the block from the firm’s current space.
“We are looking forward to stepping into a 21st century building,” Katz said. Expect the firm to host events in the building's amphitheater, he said.
Arent Fox’s total number of lawyers fell from 323 to 315 in 2011, our reporting shows. The firm’s number of equity partners (102) fell by 2.9 percent. Katz said the firm saw “normal attrition.”
“We remain very strategic in our hiring decisions,” Katz said, describing the firm as nimble yet dynamic. “We grow not for the sake of growth. We grow strategically and patiently.”
Last year, former Sens. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) and Robert Bennett (R-Utah) joined Arent Fox’s office in Washington as senior policy advisors. Katz described Bennett and Dorgan as “home runs for us.”
Former federal district judge Stephen Larson of California’s Central District last year joined the firm’s Los Angeles office, where he joined the litigation practice. Larson focuses on business disputes, intellectual property and criminal and regulatory defense.
This report is part of The National Law Journal‘s coverage of 2011 financial results for local Am Law 200 firms. Full results for The Am Law 200 will be published in the May and June print and online editions of The American Lawyer.
View an interactive chart here for updated financial results as they are reported.