Pennsylvania’s largest law firms had above average financial performances in 2015, often driven by blockbuster years for their real estate practices. While real estate lawyers are still largely bullish through at least 2016, there are signs of a slowdown on the horizon, and the question now becomes how to replicate what was at times double-digit growth.

Ballard Spahr’s real estate practice, with 120 attorneys, saw a 20 percent increase in revenue in 2015, department chair Bart Mellits said. He called last year the best in recent memory and said it was the result of a few large deals closing coupled with a general uptick across all sectors, including banks, private equity deals, and REIT activity.

“It’s the lawyers’ lament of ,'How am I going to repeat this plus 10 percent,'” said Mellits, adding that the firm’s real estate group can pivot to handle distressed assets if need be. “We loudly prefer upmarket, like our clients, and that is really what keeps our engine going, and I think 2016 will stay an upmarket.”

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