Law Firms

Howrey Chairman Explains Drop in Revenue, Partner Exits

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Howrey’s chairman Robert Ruyak is offering some reasons why the firm’s gross revenues dropped about 16 percent last year and some of the firm’s partners are leaving.

The drop in revenue would have only been about 10.9 percent if contingency payouts had been excluded from the revenue calculation, Ruyak told the American Lawyer. Howrey earned about $35 million in contingency payouts in 2008, but only about $2 million in 2009.

“Our swing in 2009 wasn’t as great as it looked,” Ruyak told the publication.

The Washingtonian’s Capital Comment Blog notes that at least a half a dozen partners have left the firm’s Washington, D.C., office since February, but says the reasons are unclear. In March, Howrey announced plans to oust up to 10 percent of its partners because of disappointing financial numbers.

Ruyak told The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times in March that the firm had cut between 25 and 30 partners, including a small number of equity partners, based on a strategic analysis. The issue, he said, was whether the partners’ practice areas were a good fit with the firm. But some lawyers interviewed by Capital Comment said they left of their own accord.

Legal recruiters told Capital Comment that lots of Howrey lawyers are looking for jobs. One of the unidentified recruiters said receptionists have caught on, and the recruiters’ calls are being screened.

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