Early financial data is beginning to pour in on how the Am Law 100 and Second Hundred firms fared in 2018. The expectation among banking consultants and those following the industry closely is that the numbers will prove to be as strong as they’ve been in years. We’ll be watching to see how it all plays out for individual firms across the market, and updating this page regularly with new articles as they come in.
The firm had major roles in six of the top 10 Chapter 11 filings of 2018.
Chairman David Greenwald said 2019 is shaping up to be another strong year.
Kirkland & Ellis added $592 million in revenue to its top line, or about the size of the 61st largest law firm in the U.S. last year.
Wilmer’s Bob Novick says the firm’s D.C. savvy is key to clients everywhere, since they know “if they don’t deal with Washington, Washington is going to deal with them.”
The firm grew revenue and partner profits as it paves the way for generational change and new leadership.
The firm’s gross revenue grew 2.7 percent, while profits per equity partner grew 1.6 percent in 2018.
Managing partner Marci Eisenstein said the firm embraced some practice areas that other larger firms have downplayed, such as trusts and estates.
The firm had a “gangbusters” 2018, said chairman Brad Karp, propelling it closer to the elusive Wachtell in the stratosphere of partner profits.
Chairman Phil Inglima said the firm surpassed its own budget and revenue expectations last year.
A jump in demand fueled the national labor and employment firm’s profit rebound.
The St. Louis-based firm, now with two offices in the Northeast, saw declining partner profits and a modest bump in revenue last year.
Gross revenues saw a smaller increase of 4.4 percent
Revenue at the Texas firm improved by 5.4 percent, while profits per equity partner jumped by 16.8 percent in 2018.
Despite the departures of prominent rainmakers at the end of 2017, the firm saw big increases in 2018.
The mega-firm said cross-border transactions and litigation fueled solid growth.
The firm grew revenue for the sixth straight year on the back of a boost in its New York office and client work across borders.
The Seattle-based firm saw its gross revenue jump by 9.6 percent, while profits per equity partner grew by 9.7 percent.
Vinson & Elkins’ saw gross revenue increase 2.7 percent, while profits per equity partner were up 6.6 percent.
The firm grew gross revenue 7.3 percent to $1.05 billion, as PEP increased by 6.8 percent to $1.99 million last year.
The firm saw modest revenue growth and a 7.2 percent rise in profits per equity partner in 2018.
GrayRobinson president Mayanne Downs said the firm’s new Washington, D.C., office is “a serious long bet on the part of the firm.”
For 2019, Smulian said the firm will continue the strategies that brought success last year.
The firm’s financial fortunes have taken a number of turns over the past five years.
The firm’s investments in global integration are paying off, said global co-CEO and Americas co-chairman Jay Rains.
Gross revenue was up 17.4 percent while profits per equity partner dipped 2.8 percent from 2017 to 2018, as the firm completed a major merger.
As Thomas Reid readies to leave for a GC role at Comcast, Davis Polk is left in strong financial health.
Gross revenue for Baker Botts dropped 7.3 percent to $678.2 million, and profits per equity partner fell 9.6 percent to $1.66 million.
Latham pulled in nearly $3.4 billion in its 10th straight year of revenue growth, as the firm’s leadership says clients are seeking out its lawyers in more places than ever.
A string of lateral hires from DLA Piper and elsewhere “exceeded even our optimistic expectations,” said chair Ira Coleman, helping to boost revenue by nearly 14 percent last year.
As the firm settles into the $1 billion club, CEO Henry Nassau said it had a “milestone” year with high expectations for 2019.
“The firm hit on all cylinders in the last year,” said New York-based chair Bradley Butwin.
The increases come as overall head count and the number of equity partners has declined.
Gross revenue at the Palo Alto, California-based firm rose 7.5 percent to $857 million in 2018, while profits per equity partner (PEP) rose by 6.3 percent to $2.35 million.
The firm’s revenue and profits per equity partner hit new heights in 2018—for the eighth straight year.
The firm saw declines in profits per equity partner as the number of equity partners remained flat and its overall head count rose 3.5 percent.
While 2018 was another banner financial year for Milbank, the firm is less enthusiastic about the lack of diversity in its all-male new partner class last month.
After four straight years of revenue and head count declines, LeClairRyan said it’s successfully positioning itself as a “next generation” law firm.
Gross revenue at the Philadelphia-based firm was up 5.5 percent, as profits per equity partner passed the $1 million mark for the first time.
The firm said one of the firm’s strongest-performing practice areas in the past year has been intellectual property, an area in which it has made a critical investment.
Chairman Seth Zachary outlined a strategy that’s simple, at least on its face: Win more work, and more complex work.
Lowenstein Sandler followed a strong 2017 with an even better 2018, with marked increases in firmwide and per-lawyer financial metrics, as well as lawyer head count growth.
Revenue at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld grew by 3.1 percent in 2018, directly in-line with head count growth, as other metrics came in flat.
Peter Sullivan, Hinshaw’s new leader, wants to grow the firm in more practice areas and cities, after three years of revenue and head count declines.
Revenue per lawyer dipped modestly, however, as the firm’s head count approaches 1,000 lawyers.
Bracewell hit $300 million in revenue in 2018, while profits per equity partner jumped by 11.3 percent to $1.45 million.
With revenue up but head count slightly down, CEO Steve Immelt said the firm had a strong year across key regions.
The firm attributed the declines to right-sizing revenue with head count, citing an uptick in revenue per lawyer.
The firm, which specializes in the representation of governments and public agencies, prospered in FY 2018.
The mid-market law firm made modest gains with affordable services.
The firm’s acquisition of a 150-lawyer Florida firm increased its size by almost a third, while the combination contributed to a decline in profits per equity partner.
Profits per equity partner also increased, but the firm’s equity partnership declined 2.8 percent from a year earlier.
“We look for sustained performance, not just wonderful years,” said chairman Ken Doran.
The firm’s Mexico City office had its best year to date.
Haynes and Boone exceeded $400 million in gross revenue and $1 million in profits per equity partner for the first time in 2018.
Chairman Tim Hester said Covington & Burling has achieved “a real, fundamental shift in the firm’s competitive position” in the last 10 to 12 years.
Revenue per lawyer and profits per equity partner both rose in the year after a merger with Arnstein & Lehr.
The firm boosted revenue by nearly 14 percent in 2018, but profits rose more modestly amid spending on technology and talent.
The firm saw revenue grow 5 percent, while profits per equity partner increased by 7 percent.
Cadwalader saw its first firmwide revenue increase in several years despite a 13 percent drop in London.
The firm’s profits per equity partner jumped to almost $2.85 million as it expanded head count.
The Am Law 200 firm overcame internal resistance to a new budgeting tool, which it credits for a strong 2018 financial performance.
Managing partner Steve Sonberg reflects on the past year and discusses the outlook for 2019.
Profits per equity partner at Dallas-based Thompson & Knight jumped 15.9 percent in 2018 compared with 2017.
The firm saw gross revenue grow by 9.8 percent, while profits per equity partner jumped 12.4 percent.
As its revenue surpassed a half-billion dollars for the first time, Nixon Peabody’s profits per partner surged to $1.5 million.
Citing its private equity work for life sciences and technology clients, chairman David Hashmall says the firm has been focused on “the convergence of capital and innovation.”
Cooley saw net income skyrocket 23.9 percent to $535.6 million as revenue surged 14.4 percent to $1.23 billion.
The midmarket law firm has not yet broken into the Am Law 200 but that could change in the next few years if it continues its steady growth.
Since implementing a strategic five-year plan in 2015, the firm’s gross revenue has climbed 35 percent in just three years.
Revenue per lawyer hit $800,000 in 2018, and profits per equity partner topped the seven-figure mark.
The firm fared particularly well in what’s shaping up to be a very good year for the Am Law 100.
2018 marks the fifth straight year of growth for the Florida firm.
Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman grew revenue by 9.6 percent, while profits per equity partner jumped 17.6 percent.
The Silicon Valley firm boosted its revenue by 14.6 percent to $429.69 million, while profits per equity partner grew by 20.2 percent to $1.82 million.