Global M&A deal volume reached nearly $4 trillion in 2018—a hot year for the most lucrative practice at elite law firms. For two of those firms, Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz and Cravath, Swaine & Moore, the boom pushed profits per equity partner to new heights—$6.53 million at Wachtell and $4.62 million at Cravath.

Wachtell and Cravath remain small compared with their mega firm competitors, helping them boost profits even more. Wachtell, with 267 attorneys last year, and Cravath, with 519, each operate largely from a single office, setting them apart from the other Am Law 100 regulars in the M&A league tables.


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