The American Lawyer has posted the results of the second 100 that forms the Am Law 200 here.
While this tranche of law firms followed the Am Law 100 in experiencing declining revenues and profits, there were some bright spots. One geographic area showing strength was the Midwest, even firms based in Detroit. Here’s an example from the article:
The GM bankruptcy also generated work for Detroit’s Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn, where profits per partner rose 5.9 percent and revenue per lawyer increased 1.5 percent. Among other matters, Honigman represented the Tempo Group, a consortium of Chinese companies, in a $100 million acquisition of portions of Delphi Corporation’s brake and suspension division. Honigman chairman David Foltyn says that the firm’s fee structure helped it land the work. “We were competing with global law firms [to represent Tempo],” he says. “The transaction cost of using us is a percentage of what it is for law firms in money centers, and clients appreciate that value more than they have in the past.”
Law firms nationally who want to succeed will be opportunistic for episodic work (like auto industry reorganization or financial re-regulation) and compete for transactional work when it ramps up again (likely slowly). The article also notes that clients are becoming more demanding regarding litigation costs. This will continue as clients have more data on what things cost and therefore act with newfound confidence in unbundling components of the process.
So, two cheers for my home state of Michigan and those market-responsive law firms operating here. Hopefully they can continue to use their experience in dealing with clients facing serious challenges and capture work that would historically be sent to the Left or Right Coasts.