Bolstered in part by a strong year for the firm's real estate and tax practices, Venable saw a nearly 6 percent increase in gross revenue, up to $376 million from $355 million in 2011, according to our reporting. The firm said profits per partner were up 3.7 percent to $845,000.
Revenue per lawyer was up 2.7 percent, from $730,000 to $750,000, and net income was up 3.1 percent to $134 million. The number of equity partners—159—remained unchanged at Venable. The overall number of partners increased to 265, up 3.5 percent. The total number of lawyers at the firm also went up, from 488 to 501.
"When I look at how we did in 2012, month to month, the second half of the year for us was quite strong," said Venable co-managing partner Robert Waldman, who leads the firm's representation of tax-exempt organizations. "We feel very good about where we are now," he said later. "The firm is very healthy."
Toward the end of 2012, as the country approached the so-called "fiscal cliff," Waldman said Venable's tax lawyers "were working in ways I have never seen." Last year, the firm sought to bolster its real estate group in New York, adding a team of partners there. The attorneys who joined the firm in New York included Peter Britell, a former chair of the Dewey & LeBoeuf's global real estate and construction practice.
On the litigation front, in March, Venable attorneys won the dismissal of tort and fraud-based claims against New York Law School. A class action accused the law school of providing misleading job-related information to potential students. An appellate panel in New York in December upheld the dismissal of the allegations. Waldman called the win in the closely watched case a "great moment" for the firm.
Legal work flowing from enforcement of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, Waldman said, remains steady at Venable. Corporate clients, he said, continue to raise FCPA issues.
The anti-bribery law, which quickly became a signature tool of Attorney General Eric Holder Jr.'s Justice Department, "is far reaching to areas where you never thought of." Waldman, for instance, said he's preparing for a speech about charitable grant-making for companies that do such work abroad. "We are beginning to realize how far flung the law is," he said.
Asked about any surprises from 2012, Waldman said "we would have thought that with the Obama administration, government contracts work would be more robust than it was. The whole regulatory scheme in Washington has taken a lot longer to roll out than we thought. It now seems to be getting traction."
Waldman said Venable remains poised for growth in the cybersecurity arena. Earlier this month, President Barack Obama announced a new effort to strengthen cybersecurity with the help of private industries. "That will be a huge area for us in the next couple of years," Waldman said.
This report is part of The National Law Journal's coverage of 2012 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 2013 issue and on AmericanLawyer.com. The Am Law Second Hundred will be published in the June issue.
For an early look at the results of The Am Law 100 survey, please see this page.