Law Practice Management

More Revenue, Less Pay at Philadelphia's Fox Rothschild

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Despite an increase of nearly 50 percent in gross revenue between 2005 and 2007, lawyer pay at Philadelphia-based Fox Rothschild has remained flat. After rising a bit, from $510,000 in 2005 to $515,000 in 2006, average profit per equity partner at the Am Law 200 firm fell in 2007 to $495,000. Meanwhile, the firm has kept the starting salary for first-year associates at $125,000.

One of the major reasons why Fox Rothschild lawyers aren’t making more is the firm’s expansion efforts. In 2005, it had 259 attorneys. By 2007, it had 358. Meanwhile, the firm has strengthened its newer offices in California, Las Vegas, New York and West Palm Beach, to provide a full range of legal services, explains the Legal Intelligencer in an article reprinted by New York Lawyer (reg. req.).

Administrative partner Mark Silow says the slowing economy hurt the firm’s real estate practice (although it helped the bankruptcy group). And, as at other law firms, clients are nervous about spending too much money on lawyers right now. The firm is still in an expansion mode, he says, but is also looking at cost-cutting measures. It isn’t considering lawyer layoffs, but attorney productivity, staffing levels and possible delay of discretionary initiatives until the next fiscal year, which begins in April 2009, are all possibilities, he tells the Legal Intelligencer.

While, in retrospect, there is always something that could have been done differently, the benefit of hindsight is making one Fox Rothschild decision look really good, he says: not increasing the $125,000 starting associate salary. Fox Rothschild “might not get everything right, but we got that one right,” he says.

The firm plans to continue to grow and upgrade its client base, but isn’t interested in a megamerger. Fox Rothschild is currently talking to firms of 20 to 30 attorneys, Silow says.

Earlier coverage: (June 8, 2007): “Fox Rothschild Expands and Profits”

Legal Intelligencer (June 7, 2006): “Fox Rothschild Raises Starting Salary to $125,000”

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