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Hybrid Law Firm Rimon Enters ‘Buying Mode’ Off Remote Work Boom

Oct. 12, 2022, 11:00 AM

Rimon P.C., a 14-year-old “hybrid” law firm that’s embraced remote work in its office-lite business model, is looking to get bigger as competitors urge lawyers to return to in-person work.

The 200-attorney firm is pursuing mergers with firms ranging from 60 to 120 lawyers, founding partner Michael Moradzadeh said in an interview.

“We’ve done so well financially, we’re now in a position to invest in further growth,” Moradzadeh said. “We are in buying mode.”

Rimon has grown revenue by 50% for two consecutive years, according to Moradzadeh, who declined to provide specific revenue and profit figures. He said the firm also has enjoyed a recruiting boost as many firms went remote during the pandemic, with headcount growing about 30% a year since 2020.

Rimon announced Wednesday that Juan Zuniga has been named its first managing partner. The San Diego-based partner’s practice focuses on real estate and Latin American work. He has been at the firm for nearly a decade, after stops at Heller Ehrman White & McAuliffe, Baker McKenzie, and Katten Muchin Rosenman.

Zuniga will take over Rimon’s day-to-day management from Moradzadeh and Yaacov Silberman, who founded the firm in 2008. The pair will remain focused on business development and strategic growth, according to Moradzadeh.

While Rimon says it has 46 offices on five continents, it also critiques Big Law firms for having “wasteful” office spending. The firm’s never asked lawyers to work in its toned-down spaces, though the physical presence is what separates it at as “hybrid” firm compared to others known as “virtual” firms.

Rimon offers a variety of practices, including bankruptcy, litigation, financing, mergers and acquisitions and capital markets transactions. The firm advised special purpose acquisition company Mobiv Acquisition Corp. in raising $87 million last year, and advised SPAC Energem Corp. in its proposed merger with a Malaysian alternative energy producer, Graphjet Technology

Big Law firms have pursued a variety of return-to-office policies, with many now requiring three days of in-person work each week. Most managing partners at this point don’t expect lawyers to work in offices five days a week.

Some firms have leaned into the remote approach.

Litigation powerhouse Quinn Emanuel adopted a permanent remote-work policy. Husch Blackwell two years ago launched its own virtual law competitor, dubbed The Link.

FisherBroyles, the largest virtual law firm, has also seen outsize growth over the past two years. The firm broke into the 200 largest law firms by revenue in 2020 and grew revenue by nearly 30% last year to $136 million, according to AmLaw data.

Like other virtual And hybrid firms, Rimon let’s attorneys keep a greater share of the revenue they generate than most traditional firms. It takes 30% of fees while lawyers split the remaining 70% between rainmakers and attorneys who handle the work. The firm’s lawyers use an internal “free market” system to set their rates for Rimon attorneys who staff their matters.

Rimon saw its recruiting pick up in April 2020, when some Big Law firms paused profit distributions to partners and froze hiring, Moradzadeh said. He expects a continued recruiting edge over Big Law for lawyers who’ve enjoyed working from home.

“Once the law firms had adapted a bit, we wondered if it meant we’d lose our competitive edge,” Moradzadeh said. “But we haven’t because the traditional law firms were in this in-between zone, and they still are. They’re not sure if they want to give their lawyers the freedom they’ve become accustomed to, and at the same time they still have the high overhead cost and bureaucracy of a traditional law firm.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Roy Strom in Chicago at rstrom@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Chris Opfer at copfer@bloomberglaw.com; John Hughes at jhughes@bloombergindustry.com