Legal Business Blogs

Squire Sanders reveals almost flat US turnover and profits as Patton Boggs talks ongoing

Squire Sanders has unveiled largely flat 2013 results in the US, with revenue at the top 15 LB100 firm, which is still in merger talks with Washington’s Patton Boggs, nudging up just 0.1% to $775m.

Total lawyer headcount dropped by 2.4% to 1227 lawyers, with revenue per lawyer up 2.4% to a three-year high of $630,000, while net income rose slightly by 0.9% to $106.5m after suffering a 20% drop at the end of 2012.

Average profits per equity partner rose slightly too, increasing 1.3% to a six-year high of $810,000. Having fallen four percentage points in 2012, Squire Sanders’ profit margin remained at 14%, the lowest it’s been since 1985 when it stood at 43%, according to American Lawyer, which started tracking the firm the same year.

Squire Sanders chair and global CEO Jim Maiwurm said in a statement: ‘On a whole we feel positively about our performance in 2013—a year when the legal industry faced some headwinds. The slowly recovering global economic climate and constantly evolving legal industry have caused the legal market to contract in size and in absolute net revenue. Despite these challenges, [our] revenue grew slightly … [and] the firm was able to improve its revenue per lawyer.’

The financials come just a couple of months after the firm, which was formed from the 2011 transatlantic merger between US firm Squire Sanders & Dempsey and the UK’s Hammonds, confirmed widespread reports of preliminary merger talks with Washington-based Patton Boggs in February, with a statement that stressed: ‘Discussions are in very early stages, and there is no assurance that a combination will be completed.’ The past day has seen the American press including the Wall Street Journal report that the talks are edging closer, after both firms signed a letter of intent to merge.

Patton Boggs is a leading public policy and lobbying firm with nine offices, while Squire Sanders is by far the larger of the pair. For Squire Sanders, Patton Boggs would bring a powerful Washington presence and strong positions in Dallas, Denver, and Anchorage, as well as a network of offices in the Middle East. Squire Sanders, meanwhile, brings a more complete US presence, as well as strong European and Asia-Pacific positions and a highly ranked Latin American practice.

The merger talks follow a year of global expansion for Squire Sanders, which formed an association with 32-lawyer Salkom in Ukraine, which went live in October, while the firm finalised a similar arrangement with 33-lawyer Melli Darsa & Co in Indonesia in November.