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Capitalizing on corporate failures and a turbulent regulatory environment, Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering boosted local revenue by 21 percent in 2002. That’s more than any other top grossing firm in the District except Dickstein Shapiro Morin & Oshinsky, which enjoyed an extraordinary 44 percent revenue gain. “It was our best year ever,” says Wilmer’s chairman, William Perlstein. Firmwide, 450 lawyers generated just more than $296 million last year, with the firm’s 342 D.C.-area lawyers accounting for about 76 percent of that amount. Profits leaped from $619,000 per partner in 2001 to $759,000 last year. Corporate and Wall Street scandals yielded hefty fees for Wilmer’s securities team and its rainmaking partner, William McLucas. The former Securities and Exchange Commission enforcement chief and his colleagues worked on internal investigations at WorldCom Inc. and Qwest Communications International Inc., among others. WorldCom alone generated about $13 million for Wilmer. Senior securities partners Robert McCaw and Harry Weiss led a team that put in long hours in 2002 advising Citigroup’s Smith Barney unit in connection with investigations into analysts’ conflicts. The firm’s telecommunications group delivered in 2002, Perlstein says, contributing about $19 million in fee income, a sharp increase over the prior year. Key clients included Verizon Communications Inc., which ranked among the firm’s top 10 clients, in terms of fees. Several partners, including Lynn Charytan, Jonathan Frankel, Samir Jain, and Catherine Ronis, advised Verizon in federal and state regulatory proceedings related to the company’s efforts to access long-distance markets. Litigation and arbitration were key business drivers in 2002, Perlstein notes. Early in the year, partner Howard Shapiro won a $505 million verdict for client IGEN International in a licensing dispute with Roche Diagnostics. And London partner Gary Born handled an array of arbitrations on behalf of Deutsche Telekom AG, the Royal Dutch/Shell Group, and others. Perlstein notes that Born’s is “clearly one of our major practices.” Antitrust litigation and bankruptcy work also proved lucrative, Perlstein says. So far this year, the firm overall boasts “just about the same activity level,” he adds. These may be dark days for investment bankers and members of corporate audit committees, but at Wilmer, times have never been better.

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