Saul Ewing enters time of opportunity

Saul Ewing enters time of opportunity
May 24, 2012
Zack Needles
The Legal Intelligencer

In the May 24, 2012 edition of The Legal Intelligencer, Saul Ewing was profiled as having a "stabilizing" 2011 and entering a phase of great opportunity. Managing Partner David Antzis said the firm is adamant about keeping a clean balance sheet, avoiding unfunded pensions and long-term debt as well as large expenses. "For the first time, laterals are asking about firms’ balance sheets," he said. "They realize that promises can be illusory. They used to just ask, ‘What are you going to pay me and for how long?’ Now, a clean balance sheet matters." He pointed out that lawyers at megafirms are experiencing "enormous" rate pressure, while a firm like Saul Ewing is able to offer comparable or better service and turn a profit with attorneys charging much lower fees. Larger firms also lack the sort of collegial atmosphere Saul Ewing seeks to provide to its attorneys, Antzis said. "In big firms, there are barely partnerships anymore,” he said. “It’s impossible to feel like you know your partners."

But the "big theme in 2011 was that the firm had entered a time of opportunity." Antzis informed the partnership in 2011 that the firm was going into an aggressive growth mode. In July, the firm opened a Boston office, which it plans to grow to about two dozen attorneys. On May 1, it opened an office in Pittsburgh, which it believes will be beneficial for the work it already does for clients in the Marcellus Shale natural gas play.