Vinson & Elkins marked its 100th anniversary with a record year, posting 11.3 percent more in gross revenue and 13.5 percent higher net income in 2017 than it did in 2016, which was also a record year.
The firm’s 2017 results marked the second consecutive year that the Texas-based firm saw increases in gross revenue, net income, revenue per lawyer and profits per partner.
“We were pleased. Being our 100th anniversary, we wanted another strong year to finish it off,” said V&E chairman Mark Kelly. “We really saw a strong level of business across kind of a wide range of practices in our offices.”
Gross revenue at V&E came in at nearly $727.5 million in 2017, compared with $654 million in 2016. Net income was $327.3 million in 2017, compared with $288.3 million the previous year.
Profits per partner totaled close to $2.4 million in 2017, up 16.5 percent from a little more than $2 million in 2016. And revenue per lawyer was almost $1.2 million in 2017, a 9.2 percent increase from a little more than $1 million in 2016.
Kelly said busy practice areas included private equity in New York, London and Texas, and capital markets overall. He said the firm represented issuers or underwriters in 17 initial public offerings in 2017, including several unrelated to the energy industry. On the dispute side, the firm is involved in several large and complex construction arbitrations, including the Panama Canal Authority in connection with disputes related to an expansion, Kelly said, Also, the shareholder litigation and enforcement group won two decisions from the Delaware Supreme Court on the same day—one for Energy Transfer Equity, and the other for C&J Energy Services.
“We continue to see market-leading practices and transactions across the energy industry— IPOs, high-yield [debt], leveraged finance, M&A. Those were all contributors to our biggest year ever,” Kelly said.
In addition, the firm reaped benefits in 2017 from the 18 lateral partner hires it completed in 2016, including a team of real estate investment trust lawyers in New York, Washington, D.C., and Richmond, and corporate technology partner Paul Tobias in Austin, Kelly said.
The firm also made a number of lateral hires in 2017, including government investigations partner Mike Dry in Washington, D.C., a group of corporate partners in London, and trial partner Bob Schick, who returned to the firm after leaving in 2014 to open a litigation boutique.
On the expense side, the firm had some one-time costs related to de-emphasizing its China practice, said firm managing partner Scott Wulfe. Another cost was a full year of higher associate compensation that V&E, like many large firms, gave to associates in July 2016.
On the plus side, Wulfe said the numbers understate V&E’s results for 2017 because the firm’s inventory ended the year up 19 percent.
The firm is slightly larger in 2017, with 615 lawyers on a full-time-equivalent basis, compared with 604 full-time equivalent lawyers in 2016, a 1.8 percent increase.