We hear much about ‘virtual’ or ‘distributed’ law firm services, but when it comes to producing real results that are genuinely impressive the pioneering virtual law firm of FisherBroyles is setting a revenue record with an almost 30 per cent increase on its previous year’s earnings.
The firm’s growth has doubled and it has entered the American Lawyer’s Top 200 largest law firm list, the first non-traditional law firm to do so
Founded in 2002, the firm’s revenues for 2021 are $136 million, helped with the addition of 27 partners and a major case representing Ericsson in a dispute with Samsung in various International Trade Commission cases, as well as handling a $250 million deal for listed company PFSWeb Inc.
The ‘stripped down’ virtual law firm model used by FisherBroyles permits it to operate on 20 per cent of gross revenue, in large part due to its eschewing of flashy physical offices, or indeed any offices. So its lawyers will be able to take home as much as 80 per cent of what they bill, as distinct from traditional law firms that generally split their revenue pie into thirds: one-third for overhead, one-third to salary and one-third to profits.
“We have also hired more talent from our Big Law competitors; as more and more elite lawyers realize that at FisherBroyles they can service clients more efficiently, at more reasonable rates, while earning significantly more money in a more lifestyle-friendly environment,” firm cofounder James Fisher (pictured) said in a statement.
The FisherBroyles intriguing business model permits top-earning partners who want to make as much as they can on the big deals or trials, to do so. If there is a desire instead to travel, trek or simply stay around the kids more often then that option is available too.
Virtual Law Firm Growth
The flexibility provided by the payment model used by the firm has seen it grow during the pandemic
Legal consultant Lisa Smith of Fairfax Associates was reported in a Reuters report as saying she thinks the trend for virtual law firm growth will continue as a result of the pandemic.
“The fact that the virtual model has worked well for lawyers and traditional law firms will certainly increase the interest from lawyers in joining a distributed model or beginning their own,” she said. “There will also be less concern about skepticism from clients about the viability of a virtual model since they have seen the ability of firms to adapt to that model.”
Besides its virtual-by-design model, a key feature at the firm is that it does not redistribute profits to other partners.
The firm covers expenses such as insurance, accounting, conflict checks, software, cybersecurity and marketing, working on the basis that if the expense relates to the entire firm’s situation then the firm will pay.
The growth in virtual law firms like FisherBroyle will only be emulated it is thought, with more profits and lifestyle choices available to hard-working, or ‘easy living’ law firm partners.