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MOney 2021: Firm profiles



St. Louis and Kansas City

$90.4 million

What started out as a turbulent year in 2020 ultimately gave way to a profitable one for Lewis Rice.

The firm saw 2 percent growth compared to 2019, ending the year with about $90.4 million in revenue.

Profit per equity partner also rose to $652,200, with a total profit of $59.4 million between the firm’s St. Louis and Kansas City offices. Firm chairman Richard B. Walsh Jr. said the firm is moving away from treating the two offices as independent profit centers.

The firm’s headcount also remained stable, at 158 attorneys and 80 equity partners.

Walsh, who took the reins as firm chairman in August, said the firm’s experience last year likely mirrored the experiences of other firms.

“It was very difficult at the beginning and a lot of anxiousness and worry about what would happen to our country and the economy,” he said. “Our clients were very resilient and we were able to maintain good relationships with them and advise them through these terrible times we were going through and do well.”

He said one area of the firm’s business that had faltered in the early days of the pandemic, mergers and acquisitions, came roaring back in fall 2020 and continues to be strong in 2021.

“I think the stronger companies are acquiring companies that were less fortunate, so that activity has picked up dramatically,” he said.

In March 2020, the firm shifted to remote work, with only a skeleton crew working in-person to help maintain operations.

Walsh said the firm gave its employees the option to return to in-person work if they preferred it, and worked to accommodate its employees with young children having to contend with school closures and lack of childcare.

He said the firm learned the importance of leaning into technology. Today, about 30 to 35 percent of the firm is working in-person.

Another lesson was that the firm’s employees are resilient and able to adapt quickly to extraordinary circumstances.

“It’s strange — when I looked back at the email in March that sent everybody home to work remotely, all the anxiety came back to me,” Walsh said. “I’m really amazed at how well people were able to adapt and continue to serve our clients at a high level.”

Walsh said that so far, 2021 has had a strong start and is looking good for the firm.

“We’re very busy right now,” he said.

 Jessica Shumaker

Key Figures

RPL: $572,000

PPP: $652,200



St. Louis

$67.4 million

Efforts to diversify the business of Greensfelder, Hemker & Gale put the firm in a better position to ride out the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Kevin McLaughlin, firm president and chief executive officer.

While business in certain areas, such mergers and acquisitions, slowed in the first half of the year, the St. Louis-based firm’s intellectual property litigation and construction practice groups and its litigation support and e-discovery teams were able to maintain a steady performance and outperform projections.

“All of that underscores that our diversification of our income streams across various practices and services pays off,” he said. “Even in a difficult year we were able to outpace our goals.”

The firm brought in $67.4 million in revenue for the year, down 3.3 percent from 2019, with revenue per lawyer of $478,000. Its 2020 profit was $29.3 million, with profit per equity partner of $523,200.

Greensfelder employed 141 total attorneys in 2020, 56 of whom are equity partners. McLaughlin said Greensfelder retained employees at all levels of the firm during the pandemic, and worked to cut discretionary spending to offset the cut in revenue.

He said the firm learned in 2020 that it is on solid financial ground.

“Like everyone, there was kind of a hold-our-breath moment when we realized what was happening, as we examined where we were in terms of our ability to weather a pretty significant storm which thankfully never materialized,” he said. “We were ready for a much worse year than we had and I think that goes to our strong financial base that we have and have had for decades. We’ve invested in the firm appropriately and those investments have given us the ability to prosper.”

Since the last MOney issue, the firm has made two noteworthy hires: a new chief financial officer, Frank H. Sanfilippo, and a director of human resources, Cady Ottolini O’Grady.

“Both of those are critical hires for our firm as we focus on growth, and we’re excited about the folks we landed,” he said.

So far, he said 2021 is off to a solid start. He said the firm’s litigation practice was hit the hardest by the pandemic, but as more in-person proceedings return, their work is beginning to kick back into gear.

“We expect that to really grow exponentially as the year goes forward,” he said.

“We’re very busy right now,” he said.

 Jessica Shumaker

Key Figures

RPL: $478,000

PPP: $523,200



Kansas City

$10.5 million 

Kansas City-based McDowell Rice Smith & Buchanan is driven by commercial and business interactions. So when the world of commerce came to a grinding halt at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, naturally, the firm’s business was also impacted.

The firm saw a 20.2 percent drop in revenue from 2019, ending the year with $10.5 in revenue and $6.1 million in profit.

R. PeteSmith, the firm’s chairman,said the decrease in revenue wasn’t unexpected.

“If our revenue was down 20 percent, I was pretty happy at that level,” he said.

The firm’s headcount remained steady at 27 total lawyers in 2020, 25 of whom are equity partners.

Smith said he was proud of how the firm handled the cut in revenue. He said at the outset, the firm’s leaders assured non-attorney staff that they would retain their employment and full paychecks during the downturn.

When cuts became necessary, the firm reduced attorney compensation. Smith said they were in a better position to weather such a cut.

“I didn’t want our employees to be worried about what’s going to happen two, three months from now,” he said. “Our revenue was good enough. Nobody got laid off, their hours cut or pay cut . . . we felt very good about that.”

Smith said one good thing to come out of the year was that the firm as a whole became proficient in the use of technology.

“Everybody in our office knows how to access all of our databases, our servers, our files, our document management programs from wherever they are now,” he said. “Everybody learned to do that, not just some.”

Smith has fully embraced videoconferencing as a means to meet with clients and appear in court. He said it’s a good thing that the courts are embracing such technology, because it’s more efficient and less costly for clients.

“I think the thing that’s come out of 2020 is that lawyers and hopefully the courts have learned how to deal with each other and with clients like they ought to be dealing with people in the current century, instead of like back in the last century,” he said.

So far, Smith said business in 2021 so far has been better than the early, pre-pandemic months of 2020, with pent-up demand for deal-making, disputes and overall legal services driving the trend.

 Jessica Shumaker

Key Figures

RPL: $388,900

PPP: $231,800



Several nationwide law firms maintain significant offices in Missouri. We detail some of them here, ranked by their approximate revenue generated in the state.


Omaha, NE • $22.4 million

The Omaha-based firm has a 43-lawyer office in Kansas City and an 11-lawyer office in Springfield, constituting about 10 percent of the 500-member firm. The firm has 12 other offices nationwide.

In 2020, it had firmwide revenue of $267 million, up 4.3 percent from $255.9 million in 2019. Profit in 2020 was $150.2 million, up 14.6 percent from $131 million in 2019.

Kutak Rock was founded in 1965 and serves business and governmental clients in business and corporate law, public finance, litigation and real estate law.


New York, NY • $9.6 million

The firm has operations in St. Louis, Kansas City and 59 other offices nationwide. Of the firm’s 963 lawyers, 16 are in Missouri.

The firm had revenues in 2020 of $518.2 million, up 6.6 percent from $486.1 million the prior year. The firm had $239 million in profit in 2020.

Jackson Lewis, which focuses on labor and employment law, was founded in 1958 in New York City.


Minneapolis, MN • $9.4 million

The national business defense and transactional firm maintains 28 total lawyers in St. Louis, Kansas City, Kansas, and Edwardsville, Illinois.

The 130-lawyer firm’s overall revenue was $65.8 million in 2020, down 1.2 percent from $66.6 million the prior year.

Foley & Mansfield was founded in 1989 in Minneapolis and has an additional 12 offices spread out across the United States.

 Scott Lauck

2021 MOney section