Chairman T. Mark Kelly says he and managing partner Scott Wulfe focused on profitability and productivity in 2012 — their first year at the helm of Vinson & Elkins of Houston — and he’s pleased average profits per partner improved to $1,470,000, up 8.5 percent in 2012.

Revenue per lawyer at V&E was $875,000 in 2012, up 4.2 percent when compared to 2011. However, gross revenue, at $592 million, declined by 2.6 percent in 2012, and net income came in at $241 million, an 8.7 percent drop compared to 2011.

"When I look at the various matrixes we were really focused on, making sure from a profitability standpoint . . . to make sure we position ourselves well, competitively, in a challenging economic and legal environment, we were very pleased," Kelly, a partner in Houston who chairs the firm, says.

Several practice areas had very strong performance in 2012, Kelly says, including capital markets, energy transactions, mergers-and-acquisitions, finance, intellectual property, commercial litigation, environmental and labor and employment.

V&E’s gross revenue was impacted by the firm’s lawyer count, which declined by 6.2 percent to a full-time equivalent of 677 in 2012, compared to 722 in 2011. About half of that reduction in headcount was due to the departure of the firm’s public finance group to Bracewell & Giuliani in January 2012, Kelly says. However, he says, V&E made some strategic lateral hiring in 2012 in several areas including project finance, complex commercial litigation, tax, intellectual property, fund formation, and environmental.

Also, the firm opened a new office in San Francisco in May 2012, Kelly says.

On Jan. 1, 2012, Kelly became chairman of the firm, and Wulfe, also a partner in Houston, became managing partner.

V&E has offices in Houston, Austin and Dallas in Texas, and also in Abu Dhabi, Beijing, Dubai, Hong Kong, London, Moscow, New York City, Palo Alto, Riyadh, San Francisco, Shanghai, Tokyo, and Washington, D. C.

This report is part of Texas Lawyer‘s coverage of the 2012 financial results of the 25 highest-grossing Texas-based firms as part of the AmLaw 100 and Second Hundred reports. The American LawyerI Texas Lawyer affiliate, will publish full results for the AmLaw 100 in May. The Am Law Second Hundred will be published in June. An interactive chart of the financial results reported so far is available here. The chart will be updated as additional data is reported.