Atlanta Firm Financials: City’s Top 10 Find Growth at the Extremes

Growth slowed on average for Atlanta’s 10 top-grossing law firms last year, especially for firms in the middle of the group. But nearly all weathered flat demand in the legal industry to push revenues ever higher.

Revenue increased 4.5 percent on average for the group—a slowdown from the prior year’s 6.5 percent increase but still ahead of the Am Law 100’s average 4.3 percent revenue growth for 2016.

The group’s revenue growth also outpaced the average 3.8 percent revenue growth in 2016 for Citi Private Bank’s basket of 193 firms (77 Am Law 100, 53 Am Law 200 and 63 niche firms).

All 10 Atlanta firms are among the 200 highest-grossing U.S. firms, with half in the Am Law 100 and the rest falling in the Second Hundred. (The American Lawyer will publish the full Am Law 200 rankings in June.)

It’s a diverse group, ranging in size from King & Spalding (No. 27 on the Am Law 100), which reported gross revenue of $1.06 billion and 1,005 lawyers, to Arnall Golden Gregory, with $94 million in revenue and 145 lawyers.

It’s also a group that has become less static in recent years when it comes to their Am Law rankings. Sutherland Asbill & Brennan, the city’s fifth-largest general practice firm, was transformed by its Feb. 1 combination with U.K.-based Eversheds to form Eversheds Sutherland and will no longer be counted as Atlanta-based. That follows the departure of McKenna Long & Aldridge from the group in 2015, after its acquisition by global megafirm Dentons.

At the smaller end, Arnall Golden entered the Am Law 200 for the first time in 2015, following Smith Gambrell & Russell’s entry in 2014.

The other Atlanta firms, in descending revenue order, are Alston & Bird, Troutman Sanders, Ogletree Deakins Nash Smoak & Stewart, Kilpatrick Townsend and Stockton, Fisher & Phillips and Morris Manning & Martin. Ogletree and Fisher & Phillips are national labor and employment firms, while the other eight Atlanta-based firms are general practice.

Paralleling their 4.5…

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