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Revenue and Profits Fall at Mayer BrownMayer Brown saw its revenue fall by just under 14 percent in 2009, as the firm's top line slipped to $1.1 billion from almost $1.3 billion in 2008. The firm also saw a dramatic fall in profits as its net income fell by almost 19 percent from $359 million to $291 million. On the prospects for 2010, firm Chairman Herbert "Bert" Krueger says: "We are not counting on a recovery in the global economy, but we do see continued strength in the practices that were busiest in 2009."
The American Lawyer2010-02-22 12:00:00 AM
Mayer Brown saw its revenue fall by just under 14 percent in 2009, as the firm's top line slipped to $1.118 billion from $1.294 billion in 2008. The firm also saw a dramatic fall in profits as its net income fell by almost 19 percent from $359 million to $291 million.
Profits per equity partner (PPP) fell a relatively modest 4 percent from $1.11 million to $1.06 million, as the firm reduced its equity partner head count by 50 to 274. The number of nonequity partners increased from 330 to 355, although firm Chairman Herbert "Bert" Krueger insists that the firm does not expect that income partners will outnumber equity partners in the longer term.
Overall head count was reduced by 144, as the total number of attorneys fell from 1801 to 1657. (Most of the decrease -- 96 lawyers -- came in the firm's U.S. offices.) In April 2009 the firm announced that it was laying off 45 lawyers and 90 staff in the United States in response to the downturn in the economy.
Given the drop in the firm's gross revenue, however, the decline in lawyer numbers was not enough to improve revenue per lawyer (RPL). Mayer Brown's RPL decreased to $670,000, from $720,000 in 2008.
"We were disappointed in our results in the first half of the year," Krueger says of the firm's 2009 performance. "However, we were quite pleased with the second half of the year as we reaped the benefits of rightsizing the portions of our business affected by the global recession," while other areas continued to be strong performers, he adds. He highlights the firm's practices in litigation, bankruptcy and restructuring, intellectual property, tax, and finance as being particularly strong in 2009.
Krueger took over as chair from James Holzhauer who announced in March that he was standing down after just a year and a half in the top job. The firm also overhauled its management structure, leading to former Vice-Chairman Kenneth Geller being appointed managing partner. London partner Paul Maher, who had served alongside Geller as vice-chairman and had been seen by some as an obvious replacement for Holzhauer, left the firm to establish Greenberg Traurig's London office.
In another high-profile move, the firm also saw the co-chair of its finance practice, Marshall Stoddard, jump ship to Dewey & LeBoeuf last summer. On the plus side, it hired senior project finance partner George Miller from Simpson Thacher & Bartlett.
Outside of the U.S., the firm aggressively grew its London finance practice last year by adding five partners (at the start of this month it added a sixth). It also merged with a seven-lawyer litigation boutique in Paris and unveiled an association with Brazilian firm Tauil & Chequer.
On the prospects for 2010, Krueger says: "We are not counting on a recovery in the global economy, but we do see continued strength in the practices that were busiest in 2009. More significantly, we were appointed to more global panels in 2009 than in any prior year, and we believe we will benefit from that in 2010."
This report is part of The Am Law Daily's ongoing Web coverage of The Am Law 100’s 2009 financials. Results are preliminary. Final rankings and full results for The Am Law 100 will be published in The American Lawyer's May 2010 issue and on AmericanLawyer.com. The Am Law Second Hundred will be published in the June issue.
The final published results of last year's Am Law 100 rankings are available here.
This article first appeared on The Am Law Daily blog on AmericanLawyer.com.