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In 2009 only two firms in The Am Law 100 had profits per partner of more than $3 million, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan at $3.13 million and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz at $4.3 million. After a very good year in 2010, Quinn Emanuel isn’t yet in Wachtell range, but it’s narrowing the gap. The firm is reporting average profits per partner in 2010 of $3.62 million, an increase of 16 percent from 2009.

Revenue per lawyer in 2010 was $1.125 million, up 6.6 percent from $1.055 million in 2009. The firm also grew in headcount last year, as name partner William Urquhart predicted last year it would. The number of lawyers increased from 398 to 489, a rise of more than 20 percent. The equity partner ranks grew, too, from 77 equity partners in 2009 to 94 in 2010; non-equity partners decreased from 44 to 37.

Urquhart attributes the firm’s financial success in 2010, first and foremost, to Quinn Emanuel’s intellectual property practice, which generated 40 percent of the firm’s revenue last year. The group represents Motorola and Google in the smart phone patent wars, and has had a number of patent trial wins in the Eastern District of Texas over the last year. “The practice is off the charts,” Urquhart says. “It’s continuing the trajectory it’s been on for quite some time.”

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