Goodwin Proctor’s vision “is to be a national firm with international reach”, says chair and managing partner Regina Pisa.
The firm spent 2005 focused on building its presence in New York and Washington DC and will spend the first half of 2006 concentrating on expanding its Los Angeles and San Francisco operations.
“[West Coast expansion] makes sense in terms of our strength in life sciences and technology,” says spokeswoman Melissa Doyle. “As well as our strong real estate and financial focuses.”
The firm also has international expansion plans with ambitions to launch in London, although it has no firm date in mind. “It’s a question of how we do that. Do we hire laterals? Or do we transplant people over?” says Doyle, stating that a merger is unlikely, but has not been ruled out.
Goodwin has expanded through mergers in the past, growing its DC presence through a tie-up with the 70-strong litigation-focused firm Shea & Gardner in 2004. Shea’s experience in white-collar crime and environmental law was said to be a key driver behind the merger.
The firm has also expanded rapidly through new appointments, making 160 lateral hires in 2005. Eighty of those were from the now defunct firm Testa Hurwitz & Thibeault and were aimed at bolstering Goodwin’s technology and life sciences practices.
The other hires were in securities litigation, white-collar crime and IP, and came primarily from McDermott Will & Emery and Boston-based firm Palmer & Dodge.
Despite its recent spate of expansion, Goodwin last month closed the small New Jersey office it opened in 2001, although this was in favour of focusing on its nearby Manhattan presence.
“It was never our intention to maintain separate offices,” says Doyle. “Over a period of time, attorneys chose to move to the New York office.”
The firm’s expansion plans follow five years of steady revenue growth, with turnover rising from $200.7m (£113.2m) in 2000 to $302.5m (£170.6m) in 2004.
Goodwin has “six strategic imperatives”, Pisa explains. These are dominance in the private equity, technology, IP, financial services, Reits and real estate capital markets, and product liability practices.
Doyle says the firm also “looks for ways to continually add value and to identify ways in which it can become more efficient”, such as anonymous client surveys. Other goals are to “foster innovation” and “make an investment in [its] people”.
“Innovation is the lifeblood of our firm,” Doyle explains. “As industries mature and services become increasingly commoditised, finding new markets and developing new service offerings is critical.”
Examples include an “incubator practice area process” to “create specific practice areas that better meet our clients’ needs”, says Doyle, as well as a litigation technology support group that uses “custom automated litigation support systems” to increase efficiency and “capitalise on past experiences”.
Firm: Goodwin Proctor
Chair and managing partner: Regina Pisa
Turnover: $302.5m (£170.6m)
Total number of partners: 222 (160 equity, 62 non-equity)
Total number of fee-earners: 650
Main practice areas: Private equity, IT, IP, financial services, products liability and mass torts, litigation, corporate, real estate
Key clients: Philip Morris, Teva Pharmaceuticals, Citizens Financial Group, TA Associates, General Electric, Prudential, Adidas, Fidelity
Number of offices: Three