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In spite of aggressive lateral hiring in the District and elsewhere, Philadelphia-based Morgan, Lewis & Bockius saw a local head count drop of nearly 6 percent in 2003. The firm added local laterals from intellectual property boutique Pennie & Edmonds and D.C.-based insurance recovery firm Zevnick Horton. But losses from the Northern Virginia office, which the firm shuttered in December, helped cause the head count to slip from 297 to 280 in 2003. Even though the firm had fewer lawyers locally, it still managed to squeak out a 4 percent increase in revenue. Grosses increased to $169.3 million in 2003 from $163 million in 2002. Morgan, Lewis also had a more profitable 2003: The firm’s 63 local equity partners took home an average of $835,000 in 2003, up from $732,000 in 2002. The firm’s 35 non-equity partners made an average of $405,000 each, up from $397,000 in 2002. D.C. managing partner Steven Stone says aggressive cost-cutting and prompt billing helped increase profits. The firm’s administrative group did “a phenomenal job in curtailing discretionary expenses,” he says. Stone says lasts year’s lateral hiring was strategic: The office is especially focused on growing its insurance recovery and intellectual property practices. The acquisition of Zevnick Horton, which gave the firm 27 new lawyers and new offices in Boston and Chicago, was “regarded as a significant coup, not only for the office, but for the firm,” says Stone. In December, Morgan, Lewis also added 10 lawyers in the District from New York-based Pennie & Edmonds. Morgan, Lewis IP litigators last year logged hours for Santa Clara, Calif.-based IP developer and licenser InterTrust Technologies Corp., which was embroiled in a licensing dispute with software giant the Microsoft Corp. for nearly three years. The Morgan, Lewis lawyers won a $440 million settlement for InterTrust earlier this year. Another area of focus in 2003 was the securities industry and investment management, Stone says. With increased scrutiny on the mutual fund industry, the firm has been seeing an upsurge in work. “We’ve had a incredible spike in work,” says Stone. “It remains an area where we intend to grow our practice.” Stone says litigation was also strong in 2003. The firm’s white collar criminal defense lawyers, headed by partner Mark Srere, represented former Kmart Corp. divisional vice president of merchandising Joseph Hofmeister. Federal criminal charges that Hofmeister conspired to conceal from Kmart auditors and accountants a $42.3 million payment from a greeting card deal were dropped last November. Also in 2003, the firm’s employment litigators, led by D.C.-based partner Grace Speights, represented 18 television studios, networks, and production companies in Los Angeles federal court in an age discrimination lawsuit filed by a class of television writers. The suits were dismissed in January.

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