Blank Rome Names New Chairman as Co-Chairman Retires
Philadelphia-based Blank Rome announced Wednesday that it has elected partner Alan J. Hoffman to another three-year term as chairman and managing partner and that Hoffman's co-chairman, T. Michael Dyer, will retire from the firm at the end of the year.
Hoffman and Dyer began their first three-year term as co-chairmen in 2009 and were re-elected to a second term beginning in January 2012, which is set to expire at the end of 2014.
According to a statement from Blank Rome, Dyer's retirement will become effective at the end of this year, meaning Hoffman will assume the role of the firm's sole chairman this upcoming January.
In January 2015, Hoffman is set to begin serving his second three-year term as managing partner.
According to Hoffman, Dyer made the decision toward the end of last year that he would retire this December.
But Hoffman said that, while he and Dyer consulted each other on management issues several times a day, taking over as the firm's sole chairman won't have much of an effect on his overall responsibilities.
Hoffman said he will continue to work closely with the firm's core management team, including finance partner Joseph T. Gulant, and the heads of the firm's litigation, business and real estate and financial services departments.
In addition, Hoffman said, partner Patrick O. Cavanaugh, the firm's chief operating officer, will be taking on more duties.
"That's basically the group I consult with in running the law firm," Hoffman said.
In 2009, Hoffman, who is based in Philadelphia, and Dyer, a partner in the firm's Washington, D.C., office, stepped in to replace David Girard-diCarlo, who had been chairman of the firm for more than 20 years.
When Girard-diCarlo took over as managing partner in 1987, Blank Rome was largely a Philadelphia regional firm with $44 million in revenue. In 2007, the firm had 492 attorneys, brought in $315 million in revenue and had expanded its presence to markets such as Washington, D.C., New York and Hong Kong.
Since Hoffman and Dyer stepped in, the firm has had its ups and downs, including shuttering its Hong Kong office, but has in recent years grown its revenue significantly and expanded its geographic reach to Houston, Los Angeles and Shanghai.
In 2009, the firm's revenue grew 3 percent from $312 million to $322 million.
In 2010, the firm's revenue dropped 3.4 percent from $322 million in 2009 to $311 million. The following year, the firm's revenue dropped by just half of 1 percent to $309.5 million.
But 2012 saw the firm surge forward in a big way, posting a 6.3 percent growth in revenue, from $309.5 million to $329 million.
Hoffman told The Legal on Wednesday that one of the firm's main goals is to provide legal services to its clients as efficiently as possible.
"As we go forward in the legal market today, the firms that are going to be the most successful will be the ones that can deliver the most value to their clients," Hoffman said.
To do that, Hoffman said, Blank Rome will continue to look for ways to manage its costs, primarily by reducing the size of its office spaces.
According to Hoffman, the firm recently took out a 10-year lease on new space in Los Angeles, which its attorneys moved into earlier this month.
Hoffman said the firm currently has about 30 attorneys in Los Angeles and has leased 25,000 square feet of space to accommodate up to 50 lawyers, which would result in 500 square feet of space per attorney.
Hoffman said research has shown that most firms currently have about 1,100 square feet per lawyer but are trending toward reducing that number to around 700 or 800 square feet.
"I don't think that's any different than what's happening at accounting firms and other professional services organizations," Hoffman said.
But none of that is to say the firm is no longer interested in growing.
Hoffman said the firm is particularly focused on growing its Washington, D.C., and New York offices, but is not opposed to entering new markets both domestically and internationally.
However, there are no specific plans to do so at this time, according to Hoffman.
"We will continue to look for geographic markets in which we can better serve our clients," Hoffman said.