Bracewell improved its financials across the board in 2017, with gross revenue, net income, revenue per lawyer and profits per partner all higher than in 2016.
Strong demand in many practice areas led to gross revenue of $278.7 million for the Houston-based firm in 2017, up 0.7 percent when compared with $276.8 million in 2016. Net income came in at $90.05 million, up 2.7 percent when compared with $87.6 million the prior year.
Revenue per lawyer was $756,000, an increase of 1.1 percent when compared with $748,000 in 2016. And profits per partner were $1.3 million, up 1.2 percent compared with $1.29 million the year before.
“It was a good year, an excellent year, across many practice areas and offices,” said managing partner Gregory Bopp.
The firm’s technology practice, including intellectual property litigation and patent prosecution, also had an “excellent year,” as did the firm’s litigation practice, he added.
The firm’s transactional lawyers worked on a number of large deals in 2017. It represented Great Plains Energy in a merger with Westar Energy, for example. It also represented longtime client Kinder Morgan in a $4.15 billion pipeline deal, and Parsley Energy in its acquisition of Permian Basin assets from Double Eagle Energy in a $2.8 billion cash-and-stock deal.
In 2017, the firm had 369 lawyers on a full-time-equivalent basis—down a single lawyer from 370 the year before.
Bopp said the firm added 11 lateral partners in 2017. With those hires, the firm also added two new practices. In Washington, D.C., it added a governments contracts practice with partners Angela Styles, who came from Crowell & Moring, where she had been chair of the firm, and Robert Wagman, who left Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer. The firm also added an international disputes practice in London, with partners Damian Watkin, coming from McDermott Will & Emery, and John Gilbert, who departed K&L Gates.
“The two practice areas were both high-priority practice areas for us. We were just waiting for the right opportunity to bring on high-quality partners,” Bopp said.
Looking ahead, Bopp said 2018 is on a good track. “The work levels are very robust right now,” he said. “We are at full capacity.”