Building on two decades of growth, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher posted increases in its 2016 financial results, as its gross revenue surpassed $1.6 billion while profits per equity partner grew by nearly 3 percent.
Gibson Dunn chairman and managing partner Ken Doran described 2016 as an “active” and “fabulous” year for the firm. He said it was the 21st consecutive year of revenue growth for Gibson Dunn, and the 20th consecutive year of increased profits.
The firm posted gross revenue of more than $1.606 billion in 2016, a 4.6 percent increase compared with 2015. Equity partner profits grew 2.8 percent, rising to $3.275 million in 2016, compared with $3.185 million in 2015. Revenue per lawyer at the 1,239-lawyer firm rose to $1.295 million, a 2.4 percent increase over 2015. Net income in 2016 reached $977.5 million, 3.4 percent higher than 2015.
Doran said the latest financial results stood out in part because they came in a year when the world outside his firm was marked by uncertainty—a result of factors such as the Brexit vote in the U.K., a contentious presidential election in the U.S. and middling oil prices.
“All areas were contributing to last year’s record results, notwithstanding a challenging environment,” said Doran. “There were lots of headwinds and yet we managed to navigate through all of that.”
The firm’s transactional lawyers stayed busy on a number of high-dollar deals, including as counsel for Wal-Mart Stores Inc. in connection with its $3.3 billion acquisition of online retailer Jet.com Inc. Gibson Dunn also had a role in Microsoft Inc.’s $26.2 billion purchase of LinkedIn Corp., serving as LinkedIn’s antitrust counsel for that deal.
On the litigation front, Doran singled out the privacy and data security realm as an area of increased importance for Gibson Dunn. In 2016, the firm had a high-profile representation of Apple Inc. in a battle over federal law enforcement’s efforts to unlock a passcode-protected iPhone that belonged to one of the perpetrators in the 2015 mass shooting in San Bernardino, California.
“I think we’ll see more and more of that kind of work, those kinds of issues, developing for clients all over the world,” Doran said.
Gibson Dunn also had an active 2016 on the lateral hiring front, attracting several outgoing federal government officials to the firm, including Stuart Delery, the Department of Justice’s former acting associate attorney general—the third-highest rank at the agency—and former head of the DOJ’s civil division.
In addition to Delery, whose hire was announced in September, Gibson Dunn brought on Stephanie Brooker, the former enforcement division director at the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. The firm also hired Patrick Stokes, who joined as a partner in Washington after nearly two decades as a federal prosecutor, most recently serving as a senior deputy in the fraud section of DOJ’s criminal division.
“There were some very high-profile, super-talented people coming out of the administration, and we were lucky enough to attract some of them,” said Doran. “I think they will be absolutely terrific, and those who have been with us for awhile are already demonstrating that.”
Beyond the recruitment of former government officials in the U.S., Doran also highlighted hiring and expansion in Gibson Dunn’s international offices in 2016. For instance, the firm, announced in June the opening of a Frankfurt, Germany office led by two former Latham & Watkins transactional lawyers, Dirk Oberbracht and Wilhelm Reinhardt.
Overall, the firm’s lawyer count grew by just over 2 percent to 1,239 in 2016, compared with 1,212 lawyers in 2015. Its equity partnership ranks grew to 299 in 2016 from 297 in 2015, while the total number of partners at Gibson Dunn grew 2.1 percent to 345 in 2016.
Doran said he is optimistic about 2017. Already, the firm has announced a new office opening in Houston, which Doran said would help position the firm as a global player in the energy sector.
“There’s no question that the world is facing significant change,” said Doran. “Change, I think, will create opportunities for our lawyers to help our clients.”
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