Revenue Growth May Not Be for Everyone

February 21, 2012 – In The News
The Legal Intelligencer

Growing revenue in the current market is a nagging concern for many firms in the Philadelphia area.

While Fox Rothschild shares that concern, it has nonetheless continually bucked the trend among Pennsylvania-based law firms by delivering revenue increases each year since the recession hit in 2008. And the firm has no plans to rest on its laurels, according to firmwide managing partner Mark Silow.

Silow noted that while the firm stresses "marketing and business development to our lawyers in Philadelphia ... it's chasing pretty much the same clients a lot of other firms are chasing." As a result, expectations of revenue growth are being tempered, and the firm budgets conservatively to account for that. "So you have to focus on how you can be more profitable with the same top line of revenue," he said.

At Fox, the focus is increasingly on growing profits not just through cost control but also through alternative hiring (such as non-partner-track associates) and through better project management skills that enable attorneys to handle client matters more efficiently and cost-effectively.

Additionally, Fox is focusing more of its resources behind industry-specific, practice-specific marketing. "We think growth and revenue comes from those clients who are sophisticated and looking for real subject-matter expertise and subject-matter experience. So we're looking to make sure the expertise and experience we have in specialized areas [can be projected] to clients and potential clients," Silow said. "That's our most effective means of business development."

Fox has continued to add attorneys across many of its offices with particular focus on growing the higher-end work it does in markets outside of the Philadelphia region. Over the past year, the firm has added eight government contracting and construction law attorneys in Washington, DC, and a team of attorneys in Los Angeles from a boutique focused on intellectual property and China trade matters.