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In the world of big law, not many firms can claim membership in the three comma club. And of the firms with membership in the exclusive billion dollar club, one has reached new heights setting an all time high of over three billion dollars in revenue.
While some cynical lawyers out there might think, well, that's just revenue, that massive number actually generates $3.25 million in profits per partner. With close to 2,500 attorneys, and $1.25 million in revenue per lawyer, the firm saw an increase in revenue per lawyer of only 1.5 percent, but that translated to a 6 percent gain in profits per partner.
The big law firm breaking the billion dollar revenue record, year after year, is none other than Latham & Watkins. The firm broke the billion dollar mark back in 2003, then the $2 billion mark in 2007, and now $3 billion in 2017. The firm credits the long term growth and success to strategic planning.
For the associates, these record breaking numbers will likely translate into larger bonuses. For lawyers who aren't part of the firm, these numbers will likely translate into continued hiring and growth.
Building for Billions
While small firms may not be vying to break the billion dollar revenue mark in their lifetime, let alone in a single year, the lesson from Latham's success is clear: plan strategically for long term growth. If you're not ready to grow when a growth opportunity presents itself, you could very well miss out.
If you're a solo practitioner, or have a small to midsize practice, if you don't have the infrastructure to grow, or scale up quickly, then missing out on a big client is a very real risk. Simple steps can be taken to ensure your firm is ready to grow, such as ensuring any office space you lease should be able to accommodate your future growth plans, or that employment handbooks you write contain policies for workforces slightly larger than you initially anticipate. Clients won't be afraid of hiring smaller firms if they can see that you are ready, willing and able, to scale up at a moment's notice to meet their needs.