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Posted November 6, 2018, 1:23 pm CST
Holland & Hart managing partner Thomas O’Donnell is attributing the loss of 72 lawyers this year to retirements and a more active lateral market for partners.
The American Lawyer spoke with O’Donnell about the figures: The law firm has lost 23 partners, 31 associates and 18 of counsels. The office with the most losses—23 lawyers in all—was in Salt Lake City. At the same time, the firm added nine partners through lateral hiring.
O’Donnell told the American Lawyer that Holland & Hart is changing to meet the challenges. “We are in a marketplace that is evolving and changing rapidly, and I think we pride ourselves for being in the category of law firms that are working hard on changing and adapting,” he said.
O’Donnell is right about the busy lateral market. According to ALM Intelligence, lateral partner moves are on pace this year to exceed 2,000 for the first time since it began collecting the data in 2011. The previous high, set in 2015, was 1,851.
But Holland & Hart is facing other problems. Its head count and gross revenue have flatlined during the past three years, according to the American Lawyer. Gross revenue was $249 million last year, about a half-million less than the amount in 2015. Head count last year was 433, a drop of 27 lawyers from the prior year. It is also one of the lower-leveraged law firms with a ratio of about one partner to one associate or of counsel, creating frustrations for associates who want to move into partnership ranks.
Holland & Hart’s profits per equity partner also were relatively low last year at $445,000. That figure put the figure at a ranking of No. 191 among the nation’s top 200 law firms.
The firm made one change last year when it amended its partnership agreement to allow for nonequity partners.
The firm also sold two ski condos it owned in Colorado for about $1.8 million last year. O’Donnell said that, as the firm grew, it became difficult for lawyers to book time at the condos and “it became increasingly unfair.” The money spent on the condos can be redirected to other uses such as team-building meetings and technology, he said. the firm grew, it became difficult for lawyers to book time at the condos and “it became increasingly unfair.” The money spent on the condos can be redirected to other uses such as team-building meetings and technology, he said.
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