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Boosted by some big contingency fees and strategic investments, Houston-based Baker Botts posted a record year in 2016, with revenue up 20.2 percent compared with 2015, and profits per partner up 36.6 percent.

The bottom-line numbers were rosy: Gross revenue hit $846.5 million for 2016, compared with $704.5 million in 2015, and net income reached $435 million, from $301 million the prior year. Profits per partner were $2,465,000 in 2016, up from $1,805,000 in 2015, and revenue per lawyer came in at $1,195,000 in 2016, up 18.3 percent from $1,010,000.

“We’ve been working really hard on our business plan. We’ve invested heavily in all of the things that make practices hum,” managing partner Andrew Baker said. He said the firm has invested in lawyers, IT, professional development, marketing, pricing training and project and practice management.

In 2016 the firm focused on the energy and technology sectors, and while it’s known for its long-standing energy practice, the number of clients in the firm’s energy sector is about equal to the number of technology clients, Baker said. He noted that the firm added intellectual property lawyers in 2016 and expanded in the Silicon Valley with the office it opened in San Francisco in January 2016.

The firm also beefed up other practices, including antitrust, white-collar defense and bankruptcy, he said, and added lawyers in London.

Baker said the firm’s earnings have trended upward for the last four years, but this year benefited from contingency fee litigation. He declined to say how much the firm made from those lawsuits in 2016, but said the windfall came from more than one case and “contributed strongly” to the firm’s bottom line. (Multiple outlets reported last year that the firm earned a significant fee related to a $755 million Vivendi SA settlement with Liberty Media.)

He said the flush times were reflected in 2016 bonus pay. “When we had these measures of contingent success … there’s not an employee of the firm who did not participate,” he said.

The firm had 708 lawyers on a full-time equivalent basis last year, up 1.3 percent from 699 in 2015. There were 278 equity partners in 2016, one more than in 2015.

Baker Botts prepaid 2017 expenses in late 2016, Baker said. Because the firm has had four good years in a row, it has steadily increased prepays to give the firm “cushion and flexibility,” he said.

Baker said the energy practice was challenging early in 2016 but improved as the year went on. So far this year, the energy business is “really picking up,” he said.

Baker Botts has offices in Austin, Dallas and Houston in Texas. Others are in Beijing, Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong, London, Moscow, New York, Palo Alto, Riyadh, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.

Contact Brenda Sapino Jeffreys at bjeffreys@alm.com. On Twitter: @BrendaSJeffreys.

Copyright Texas Lawyer. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Boosted by some big contingency fees and strategic investments, Houston-based Baker Botts posted a record year in 2016, with revenue up 20.2 percent compared with 2015, and profits per partner up 36.6 percent.

The bottom-line numbers were rosy: Gross revenue hit $846.5 million for 2016, compared with $704.5 million in 2015, and net income reached $435 million, from $301 million the prior year. Profits per partner were $2,465,000 in 2016, up from $1,805,000 in 2015, and revenue per lawyer came in at $1,195,000 in 2016, up 18.3 percent from $1,010,000.

“We’ve been working really hard on our business plan. We’ve invested heavily in all of the things that make practices hum,” managing partner Andrew Baker said. He said the firm has invested in lawyers, IT, professional development, marketing, pricing training and project and practice management.

In 2016 the firm focused on the energy and technology sectors, and while it’s known for its long-standing energy practice, the number of clients in the firm’s energy sector is about equal to the number of technology clients, Baker said. He noted that the firm added intellectual property lawyers in 2016 and expanded in the Silicon Valley with the office it opened in San Francisco in January 2016.

The firm also beefed up other practices, including antitrust, white-collar defense and bankruptcy, he said, and added lawyers in London.

Baker said the firm’s earnings have trended upward for the last four years, but this year benefited from contingency fee litigation. He declined to say how much the firm made from those lawsuits in 2016, but said the windfall came from more than one case and “contributed strongly” to the firm’s bottom line. (Multiple outlets reported last year that the firm earned a significant fee related to a $755 million Vivendi SA settlement with Liberty Media.)

He said the flush times were reflected in 2016 bonus pay. “When we had these measures of contingent success … there’s not an employee of the firm who did not participate,” he said.

The firm had 708 lawyers on a full-time equivalent basis last year, up 1.3 percent from 699 in 2015. There were 278 equity partners in 2016, one more than in 2015.

Baker Botts prepaid 2017 expenses in late 2016, Baker said. Because the firm has had four good years in a row, it has steadily increased prepays to give the firm “cushion and flexibility,” he said.

Baker said the energy practice was challenging early in 2016 but improved as the year went on. So far this year, the energy business is “really picking up,” he said.

Baker Botts has offices in Austin, Dallas and Houston in Texas. Others are in Beijing, Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong, London, Moscow, New York , Palo Alto, Riyadh, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.

Contact Brenda Sapino Jeffreys at bjeffreys@alm.com. On Twitter: @BrendaSJeffreys.

Copyright Texas Lawyer. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.