The Am Law Second Hundred Are Green—With Envy

The Second Hundred delivered a good year in many respects, but they couldn't keep pace with the competition in the Am Law 100.

Date: May 22, 2019

Publication: The American Lawyer

Thompson Hine was highlighted in The American Lawyer as a law firm with a successful value proposition based on efficiency in the current market.

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Thompson Hine has also traveled down the path toward efficiency and believes it is seeing positive financial growth as a result. The firm, which saw revenue growth of 6.9 percent last year and PEP growth of nearly 16 percent, has been spreading throughout its practice groups a policy that mandates that lawyers budget legal matters.

Firm chair Deborah Read says that initiative has begun to pay off in the firm’s financials, as clients are more frequently selecting her firm for work based on its dedication to efficiency and predictable costs. Nearly $130 million worth of the firm’s work—more than half its annual revenue—is budgeted in a proprietary system Thompson Hine launched in 2014.

Read says she attended a pitch meeting for work with a company that had a $50 million annual budget. She explained the firm’s SmartPaTH system for scoping and budgeting legal work. A client expressed skepticism that the firm’s lawyers would actually use it, Read says.

“I said we require it,” Read says, “and I explained our progress. And honestly, the look on their faces was unbelievable.”

Read says the firm won a spot on that panel despite not having an office in the city where the client was located or a practice that was top-rated by Chambers & Associates in the area the client was looking for. She attributes the success to clients seeing value in the firm’s dedication to efficiency and predictable pricing.

“This has very much benefited the firm,” Read says. “We are outperforming our peer firms.”

If the rest of the Second Hundred can take one lesson from those firms, it may be that, as firms fight to prove their value, there is no substitute for hard work.