SAN FRANCISCO — The top line barely budged at Morrison & Foerster in 2013, with the firm’s gross revenue climbing 1 percent, to $1.01 billion. Revenue per lawyer was the same as last year—$990,000—as the firm’s lawyer count grew 1 percent, to 1,020.

Profits per equity partner fell less than a percent, to $1,465,000. “Instead of managing a firm to profitability of a single year, we’re really investing in practices and geographies that will benefit us in the future,” said MoFo chair Larren Nashelsky. The firm opened an office in Singapore in January and a Berlin outpost in September, bringing eleven partners on board in 2013. He added that the firm will fully reap the benefits from new offices in two to three years.MoFo saw continued strength in demand in intellectual property litigation and its M&A-focused areas, Nashelsky said, such as technology, telecommunications and life sciences The firm’s corporate lawyers represented Residential Capital and its subsidiaries in Chapter 11 bankruptcy throughout the year, and its litigators led Apple Inc. in the patent damages retrial against Samsung. On the M&A front, the firm advised Softbank Corp. in its acquisition of Sprint Nextel Corp., a deal that closed in July 2013.

“We’re positioning ourselves to be at the top of the market, which means [financial performance] will be slightly more episodic,” he said. “Apple doesn’t have its trial of the century every year.”

Legal consultant Ron Beard said demand for corporate practices waned in 2013 because there was less merger activity.

“I think as more firms announce we’re going to see that flat isn’t all that bad,” he said. “Especially coming off a pretty good year, which most firms had in 2012.” MoFo’s revenue climbed almost four percent in 2012.

This report is part of ALM’s preliminary coverage of 2013 financial results for The Am Law 100 and 200. Final rankings and full results for The Am Law 100 and 200 will be published later this year.

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