Kim Koopersmith, chairman of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld (Photo: Diego M. Radzinschi/ NLJ)
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld saw a bonanza in profits last year, according to our reporting. Profits per partner increased almost 20 percent, by about $300,000 per partner, to $1.835 million in 2013 compared with 2012.
Net income was up by about 18 percent, to $315.5 million. Gross revenue grew by 7 percent, to $828.5 million.
“We were really firing on all cylinders across the board,” Kim Koopersmith, the firm’s New York-based chairwoman, said in an interview.
Strategic changes in 2012 and 2013 fueled the growth, Koopersmith said. The firm added only three attorney positions in 2013, for a firmwide total of 809. Akin Gump had wooed 22 partners to the firm in 2012 through lateral moves compared with only eight last year, so the firm focused on integrating those people into existing practice groups.
“Having your laterals fly office to office and talking at a partner lunch does not constitute integration,” Koopersmith said. “We make sure they have everything there is to know about Akin Gump, and we know everything there is to know about our laterals.”
For example, lawyers dealing with different types of energy law—from business related to shale, coal renewables—formed a new practice group, global energy and transactions. That reorganization helps lawyers with difference focuses work together, whether in Houston, London, Moscow or Los Angeles.
When Patricia Millett, who led the firm’s Supreme Court and national appellate practices, was nominated and confirmed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, Akin Gump had planned for her succession. (Millett was sworn in Friday.)
Before she left, the firm had hired Pratik Shah, formerly an assistant to the U.S. solicitor general, to lead the Supreme Court practice.
In the first quarter of 2013, Akin Gump worked on $40 billion in corporate transactions, including Alterra Capital’s $3.13 billion merger with Markel Corp. The financial-restructuring practice also did well, Koopersmith said. That included representing a group of Eastman Kodak Co. creditors for the company’s $525 million sale of patents and during the negotiation of the company’s $830 million bankruptcy financing.
Koopersmith highlighted the firm’s pro bono work in a year of big numbers. “Our lawyers did not in any way decide to spend less time to our commitment to our community,” she said. “That says a lot.”
Partner Steven Schulman, who leads Akin Gump’s pro bono practice, became head of the Association of Pro Bono Counsel in January 2014.
This report is part of The National Law Journal‘s coverage of 2013 financial results of The Am Law 100. Final rankings and full results for The Am Law 100 will be published in the spring in The American Lawyer and on AmericanLawyer.com.
Contact Katelyn Polantz at firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter: @kpolantz.