Proskauer Rose has named Daryn Grossman as its managing partner, a key part of the international law firm’s first major leadership changeover in nearly a decade.
New York-based Grossman is co-chair of the firm’s global corporate department. She will work alongside Steven Ellis, co-chair of Proskauer’s private credit group, who stepped into the role of firm chair this week, replacing its long-serving leader Joseph Leccese.
The two are taking the helm as they report Proskauer surpassed $1 billion gross revenue in 2019, a new benchmark for the roughly 145-year-old firm. In the last couple of years, only a few dozen law firms have said they cleared the $1 billion annual revenue threshold.
Grossman arrived at Proskauer 17 years ago from the now-defunct Brobeck Phleger & Harrison and since then has held multiple leadership positions at the firm. She co-founded and heads its life sciences group and previously led its technology, media, and telecommunications group.
She’s represented high-profile clients like Grifols, S.A., and Celgene Corp. on numerous transactions over the years.
“This was not a hard decision,” Ellis said of Grossman’s selection.
“It was an easy decision as far as somebody who is a really good lawyer, a really good manager, a really good mentor, and is just a pleasure to work with,” Ellis explained, noting that the pair had previously worked together on strategic committees at the firm.
“I am very proud and humbled,” Grossman said. “I did jump at the chance to work with Steven and implement his vision.”
Since deciding to take on the role, Grossman has been immersed in learning its ins and outs, working alongside Proskauer’s current and first-ever managing partner Bruce Lieb, who has had the job for nine years.
Lieb will stay on as co-managing partner of Proskauer for a transition period, before handing the reins to Grossman alone.
Grossman said she will continue to practice, particularly in the life sciences space, but will step down as co-chair of the corporate department, shifting her management focus to the firm as a whole.
She said her primary goal as managing partner will be to “keep the metaphorical trains running on time.”
She will also work alongside Ellis to strengthen the firm’s practices and departments and help these groups of lawyers collaborate and work more effectively together.
In the months and years ahead she will also focus on the talent management aspect of the firm through a variety of programs and initiatives.
“Attracting and retaining top talent is certainly one of our ‘always’ goals, not short term, not long term,” she said.
Grossman will become only one of a few women in leadership positions among the Am Law top 50 firms.
A 2019 survey published by the National Association of Women Lawyers found that only 26% of Am Law 200 firms reported having a woman among their firmwide managing partners.
“I know that being a woman, in some part, influences every decision I make, and I hope that the commonality that I share with other women will be impactful on them,” Grossman said.
Ellis and Grossman are stepping into their new respective roles at a time of significant upward financial trajectory for the firm, which has roughly 725 lawyers across 12 offices.
From 2010 when Leccese took over as chair, through 2018, Proskauer’s profitability rose more than 51% from $645 million in gross revenue to $977.8 million, before hitting its new 2019 high.
“We cannot rest on our laurels,” Ellis said.
He said the legal market has changed a lot in the last decade and today requires not just great lawyers but lawyers who are smart about business and partnering with clients to plan strategically.
“Those are the law firms that are going to be successful, it has been how we’ve been successful — being nimble and solution oriented,” Ellis said. “That’s in our DNA and that’s how we’ll continue to keep the rock going up the hill.”