FisherBroyles becomes first non-traditional firm to enter Am Law 200 rankings

Achievement underscores the benefits of a distributed model post-Covid, firm's founders say

By alexkic; Shutterstock

US-based FisherBroyles has become the first non-traditional firm to break into the Am Law 200 rankings after its gross revenue hit $113m in 2020.

FisherBroyles operates under a distributed law firm model where partners retain up to 80% of their fees – work they originate – with the remainder going towards the firm’s costs. Over the past 12 months the firm added 51 new partners, the majority of whom joined from other Am Law 100 and 200 ranked firms. The firm’s gross revenue was a record, with total fee income reaching $105m – a 14% increase on 2019.

It was enough for the firm to make 198th in the ranking, which covers the second 100 largest law firms by revenue in the US. As a whole the grouping achieved a 1.1% revenue increase, against steeper rises in revenue per lawyer (3%) and profits per equity partner (8.8%), numbers which suggest lockdown has generated both efficiencies and a lower cost base for law firms. 

James Fisher, co-founder and managing partner of FisherBroyles, said: “Covid-19 has accelerated the adoption of our distributed law firm model. The pandemic forced traditional big law attorneys to adjust to the realities of remote working, and what many discovered is it wasn’t much of an adjustment. They could still practice law at the same high level with no degradation of quality of the work, and at the same time, increase the quality of their lives.”

Fisher said that has prompted many lawyers to question the value of remaining at a traditional firm given that they can retain more profits for themselves, while also giving their clients better value for money.

He added: “We believe that our model represents a paradigm shift in the way law firms will operate in the new normal.”

FisherBroyles now has around 300 attorneys spread across the US and the UK, having opened in London last year with the arrival of a number of lawyers from firms such as Slaughter & May, DLA Piper, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner and Crowell & Moring, among others. The firm said it is seeking to grow head count further in the US while also eyeing potential expansion opportunities in Europe and Asia.

Kevin Broyles, co-founder and managing partner, said: “FisherBroyles was built as a remote law firm from its foundation up – a platform unlike any other in the legal industry. The firm, its partners, and its clients’ interests are uniquely aligned. Our company culture has always been that of a flexible law firm that promotes autonomy and collaboration. It is very difficult for competitors to shift cultures overnight. Not only have we built the foundations for further growth, we also have a considerable head start on firms that may try to adapt to a post-Covid distributed model.”  

Although impressive – given fears Covid-19 would severely impact law firm performance, `- the Am Law 200 results are overshadowed by the largest 100 law firms, which achieved an average 6.6% increase in gross revenue, according to, with revenue per lawyer up by 5% and PEP rising by 3.4% to $2.23m.

Research published in the UK last year recorded a 22% year-on-year increase in the number of law firms operating under the distributed model.

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