Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman saw revenue spike to an all-time high in 2018, an outcome chairman David Dekker attributed in large part to strong performance in technology and financial services.
The firm saw its gross revenue hit $645.9 million last year, an increase of 9.6 percent from the $589.5 million it brought in the year before. Revenue per lawyer climbed 7.9 percent, to $1.03 million.
Profits per equity partner (PEP) also grew by 17.6 percent, reaching $1.5 million. Net income increased by 19.5 percent to $201.1 million.
“We were fortunate to see particularly strong client demand in each of our four areas of industry focus, but it was particularly strong in the technology area and in financial services,” said Dekker, who has been Pillsbury’s chairman since 2017. “In both of those industry segments we experienced greater than 10 percent growth in demand for our services.”
Dekker said Pillsbury benefited from a strong economy in 2018 and also credited the firm’s lateral hiring over the past three years for its financial growth. The firm said it brought on 13 new partners in 2018, in California, Texas and New York.
Pillsbury increased its total head count by 10 lawyers, or 1.6 percent, to 629 in 2018. The size of its equity partnership grew by two, to 134, while the nonequity partner tier shrank by six, to 161.
The firm also opened an office in Taipei, Taiwan, in 2018, Dekker noted.
Intellectual property litigators Christopher Kao and David Tsai, who are among fewer than 50 registered foreign lawyers in Taiwan, joined Pillsbury from Vinson & Elkins in May. When the firm opened its Taipei office in August, Kao and Tsai said they planned to spend at least one week per month in the new office. Partners from other offices will also use the new location to meet with Taiwanese clients, they said.
Meanwhile, Pillsbury made some readjustments in the Middle East, closing its offices in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, United Arab Emirates, last year. Asked about those closings, Dekker said the firm decided it could service clients in Middle East matters from its London, New York and Washington, D.C., offices.
In addition to its expansion in Taiwan, Pillsbury also recruited a litigation team in New York that focuses on China-related disputes. The six-lawyer group was led by Geoffrey Sant, formerly a partner in Dorsey & Whitney’s trial department.
Pillsbury also focused on growing its state and local tax and leveraged finance practices, which included adding a group of 13-lawyer team from Eversheds Sutherland and a pair of leveraged finance partners, Michael Michetti and Joel Simon, from Schulte Roth & Zabel in New York.
The firm had a hand in a couple of deals that made headlines last year. It represented JUUL Labs, Inc., in Altria Group, Inc.’s $12.8 billion investment in the U.S. e-vapor company and advised Brookfield Business Partners on the regulatory and policy aspects of its acquisition of Westinghouse Electric Company LLC for $4.6 billion.
Pillsbury lawyers are also representing New York University in an ongoing lawsuit against its insurer, Factory Mutual Insurance Co., for coverage of losses stemming from Superstorm Sandy. According to the firm, the case involves more than $1 billion in claims.
In 2019, Dekker said his firm will continue to focus on its core areas including technology, financial service, energy and real estate and construction industries.