This year has been challenging for Mark NeJame, founder and senior partner at Orlando-based NeJame, LaFay, Jancha, Ahmed, Barker & Joshi PA. But 2009 was also something else for him: record-breaking.
The firm experienced a record 14 percent growth last year, but doubled that this year with an overall annual increase of 28 percent in revenue. Revenue for the last quarter of 2009 was up 32 percent from fourth-quarter 2008. “We’ve really had a big year, but it was still challenging,” said NeJame, declining to share revenue.
The law firm attributes some of its success to a decision to branch out into new practice fields in 2007, including commercial litigation, immigration law and personal injury. “We’re finally starting to realize a wider, regular revenue stream that should help the lulls in a regular business cycle.”
NeJame also said many high-profile cases this year helped in the firm’s success. For example, it represented professional golfer Tiger Woods regarding his November car accident and the personal troubles that followed.
However, the firm did eliminate its family law practice in October since it wasn’t producing enough business. As a result, the 15-year-old firm replaced its family law attorney with a new business litigation attorney to help with a more successful practice area. Also, one staff member serving the family division was moved to another division within the firm. In addition, the firm hired a new office assistant as business grew.
And some hurdles still remain. NeJame said working the kinks out of the billing division and forming the right team were the biggest challenges he faced this year, and will continue to be hurdles in 2010. “It was like creating a whole new business while maintaining your old one.”
As for legal areas expected to gain strength going into 2010, commercial litigation and immigration should stay strong, along with land use and entitlement law, said Terry Delahunty, a shareholder with GrayRobinson PA in Orlando. These areas will be busy with clients trying to get approvals before the vote on Amendment 4 in November, he said.
NeJame, LaFay, Jancha, Ahmed, Barker & Joshi PA
Numbers: Revenue up 50 percent from the previous quarter; overall annual revenue up 28 percent from 2008
Employees: 11 attorneys; 19 staff, up from 18 in third quarter
Victory: Boosting quarter over quarter revenue by 50 percent in a recession
Challenge: Getting the word out that the firm is providing services in new practice areas besides criminal defense
2010 goal: To strive to surpass this year’s increase in annual revenue
Source: Orlando Business Journal