Last year marked the 50th anniversary of Munger, Tolles & Olson’s founding—and the second straight year that the Los Angeles firm saw a double-digit increase in its profits per partner. The firm’s PPP rose 16 percent, to $1.57 million in 2012, on the heels of an 11 percent uptick in 2011. Its gross revenue, meanwhile, grew nearly 5 percent, to $213.5 million, and its revenue per lawyer inched up 2.4 percent, to $1.23 million.
"We had a fantastic year," says managing partner Sandra Seville-Jones, who notes that the firm managed to keep expenses relatively flat compared to 2011. Munger also fared better in terms of collections in December than it did during the same month a year earlier, she says.
Munger continues to represent Transocean Ltd. in connection with litigation stemming from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and is defending Bank of America Corporation and Wells Fargo & Company in cases brought over mortgage-backed securities. The firm also helped Universal Music Group win Federal Trade Commission approval of its $1.9 billion acquisition of EMI Music from Citigroup Inc. Elsewhere on the entertainment front, the firm won a trial ruling for client Dick Clark Productions Inc. affirming its rights to produce and distribute the Golden Globe Awards show. Notable transactional roles taken by Munger lawyers last year included advising HealthCare Partners on its $4.4 billion acquisition by dialysis provider DaVita Inc.The firm’s partnership ranks—which included 93 attorneys in 2010—continued to shrink in 2012, dropping from 88 to 86. Among the departures were Paul Watford, who left the firm for a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The firm’s total attorney head count was essentially flat, rising from 170 to 174.