Law Firms

Arent Fox Gets New Chairman, First New Leader in 14 Years

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Longtime Arent Fox partner Mark Katz has been named its chairman, the firm’s first new leader in 14 years.

Katz’s appointment was announced Monday but was effective March 1, the Blog of Legal Times noted. He succeeds Mark Fleischaker, who will remain at the firm and focus on antitrust and civil rights cases, the Washington Post reported.

Katz told the Post that Arent Fox wasn’t hurt as badly by the recession as other firms because of its controlled growth.

“Some of the firms that grew very rapidly and worked on a mega-international platform seem to be running into difficulties,” he told the Post. “We’ve grown on a patient pace, and that’s helped us.”

The BLT, however, noted not Arent Fox’s growth since the recession but how it braced for 2009: The firm cut 5 percent off its expense budget at the end of 2008, prepaid rent for some of its offices and de-equitized three or four partners.

Arent Fox also revoked offers to 12 incoming first-years in September and laid off 13 associates and 15 staff members a year ago.

At the same time, half of its 2009 partner promotions were women, and it was named one of the top 50 law firms for women by Working Mother magazine.

Katz told the Post that Arent Fox’s regulatory, intellectual property, health care, contracting and bankruptcy practices are doing well and he expects to expand the firm, now with 350 lawyers, to 550 or 600 lawyers and is looking for opportunities to open a Northern California office.

Related coverage:

The Blog of Legal Times: Arent Fox Holds Steady in 2009

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