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Shaw Pittman saw moderate drops in revenue and attorney head count in 2003, causing the firm to slip from eighth to 11th place on the list of top-grossing firms in the D.C. area. Last fall, the firm also shed the bulk of its Los Angeles office, letting 12 corporate lawyers go in the process. Latham & Watkins dealt the firm another blow when it poached eight attorneys, including two key D.C. partners, from Shaw Pittman’s hallmark technology outsourcing practice. But managing partner Stephen Huttler says that despite the nearly $3 million decline in firmwide gross revenue to $189.5 million in 2003, the firm was in the process of “laying the foundation” for future success. That included hires in key practice areas such as tax and intellectual property and boosts to profits per partner and revenue per lawyer. Attorneys in Shaw Pittman’s outsourcing practice were lead counsel for the Inland Revenue in the United Kingdom (the U.K. equivalent of the Internal Revenue Service) in negotiating a $5.2 billion technology services contract with Ernst & Young and Fujitsu Ltd. “It was really a feather in our cap that we were selected for this most important project,” Huttler says. J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. also turned to the firm for representation on outsourcing work, this time in a $5.5 billion technology service contract with the IBM Corp. In the insurance litigation area, Shaw Pittman lawyers won a significant victory for insurer the St. Paul Cos. when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit affirmed a decision that the destruction of both World Trade Center towers constituted one occurrence for insurance purposes. Since the building owner held a policy with a limit of $3.5 billion per occurrence and could have collected $7 billion, the decision translated into a multibillion-dollar win. The firm’s communications and corporate lawyers, led by partner Scott Flick, represented Los Angeles-based Univision Communications Inc. in connection with its $3.4 billion merger with the Hispanic Broadcast Corp., which created the largest Hispanic broadcasting network in the United States. Rises of about $10,000 in profits per partner, to $545,000, and a $30,000 increase in revenue per lawyer were due in part to having about 20 fewer attorneys firmwide than the previous year, Huttler says. He adds that the firm’s goal is to increase partner profitability by 40 percent over the next three years. He does not anticipate office closures or associate layoffs to achieve that goal. “We won’t do anything draconian to achieve it,” Huttler says. “It’s something I believe the firm has the capacity to achieve based on our existing resources.” Huttler says the firm is focused on building revenue by providing business development skills training for all of the firm’s attorneys and growing core practices such as tax and IP. He remains upbeat about 2004, pointing to the firm’s Well Being Program, introduced last year at a cost of about $1 million. The program includes components of professional training, fitness, nutrition, and community service. Designed to increase productivity, the project offers such perks as in-house professional development seminars for attorneys and staff, and on-site yoga and meditation classes.

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