Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy ended its first year under new chairman Scott Edelman on a positive note, with gross revenue increasing 6 percent, to $706 million, and profits per partner rising 5 percent, to $2.565 million, according to The American Lawyer’s reporting. Revenue per lawyer, meanwhile, was up 3 percent, to $1.195 million.
Last year’s solid results follow a mixed 2012, when profits slipped 5 percent amid a 2 percent uptick in gross revenue.
Edelman says the momentum the firm gained as it moved through 2013 has spilled into this year. “The year started off slow and ended very strong,” he says. “2014 is going gangbusters. We’re feeling good about where the firm is.”
Edelman, a former federal prosecutor, served as Milbank’s vice chairman for four years before succeeding the retiring Mel Immergut in the firm’s top leadership post last March. Before stepping down, Immergut had the distinction of being the longest-serving leader of a New York–based Am Law 100 firm as a result of his 16-year reign.
Asked about any notable changes he has made since becoming chairman, Edelman says Milbank’s management structure and direction remain the same. He does note what he calls one “big difference” between him and Immergut: Unlike his predecessor, who was a full-time manager, Edelman spends more than half his time on his litigation practice.
Last year’s highlights ran the gamut of Milbank’s practices, according to Edelman.
“We had very strong gains in litigation,” he says, pointing specifically to a pair of patent infringement defense verdicts the firm won for Apple Inc. and the $1 billion settlement it helped Rabobank Group reach to resolve charges brought by U.S. and foreign authorities over the Dutch bank’s alleged manipulation of benchmark global interbank lending rates.
Milbank’s financial restructuring and bankruptcy group had a busy 2013, representing, among others, Lightsquared Inc. and the creditors of textbook publisher Cengage Learning Inc. and Rescap. The firm’s leveraged finance lawyers were also active, Edelman says, as was its Latin America group. In terms of corporate matters, Milbank represented the underwriters on last year’s $49 billion bond sale by Verizon Communications, and advised Virgin Media Inc. in connection with its $23 billion acquisition by Liberty Global Inc. So far this year, the firm has picked up the assignment representing the Canadian government on a $3 billion U.S. bond offering.
On the head count front, Milbank’s total attorney population grew 4 percent last year, to 592. The firm’s equity partnership ranks dwindled by one, to 137, while its nonequity tier grew from nine to 13. Last year’s lateral hires included three Allen & Overy partners: Hong Kong–based James Grandolfo, who headed his former firm’s Asia Pacific capital markets practice; Aled Davies, who came aboard in Tokyo; and Douglas Landy, the former head of A&O’s U.S. financial services regulatory practice, who joined Milbank’s New York office. The firm also recruited capital markets attorney Stuart Morrissy from Weil, Gotshal & Manges last year.
Milbank has already landed one big name this year: George Canellos, the former codirector of enforcement at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, is set to become the head of the firm’s global litigation group. Canellos, a former Milbank partner, officially rejoins the firm as of March 24.
This report is part of The Am Law Daily’s early coverage of 2013 financial results of The Am Law 100/200. Final rankings and full results for The Am Law 100 will be published in The American Lawyer’s May 2014 issue and on AmericanLawyer.com. The Am Law Second Hundred will be published in the June issue.