SOURCE: ALM

ALM

April 28, 2011 10:06 ET

The American Lawyer Finds Rising Revenues, Spiking Profits at The Am Law 100

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - Apr 28, 2011) - The nation's largest law firms bounced back in 2010, registering healthy revenue growth after 2009's decline and a sharp spike in profitability, according to The Am Law 100, the authoritative annual report just published by ALM's The American Lawyer.

Collectively, The Am Law 100's gross revenue rose 4 percent, while the closely watched profits-per-partner (PPP) measure grew 8.4 percent, averaging $1,366,695 for the group. Leading this growth spurt was litigation powerhouse Quinn Emanuel, whose gross revenue jumped 31 percent to $550.5 million; the firm's PPP climbed an impressive 15.7 percent from 2009 to $3.62 million. Alston & Bird led the Am Law 100 in PPP growth at 34 percent.

"PPP spiked in large part because firms trimmed their expenses and their partnership ranks," wrote Robin Sparkman, Editor in Chief of The American Lawyer, in the May issue. "Average attorney head count fell 2.7 percent last year, the biggest drop since we started ranking The Am Law 100 almost 25 years ago."

Another key metric, revenues-per-lawyer (RPL), increased 4.4 percent last year, powered by a combination of head count cuts and a modest uptick in billing rates.

In terms of sheer size, Baker & McKenzie's $2.104 billion revenue topped the Am Law 100 in 2010, closely followed by Skadden a mere $4 million behind. DLA Piper was third at $1.961 billion. Latham & Watkins ($1.929 billion) and Hogan Lovells ($1.665 billion) round out the top five.

Overall, about 60 percent of The Am Law 100 firms increased revenues in 2010. On the down side, Dechert stood out with a 9 percent drop to $648.5 million. Seventeen firms produced revenues of at least $1 billion; joining the club last year were Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton; Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher; Sullivan & Cromwell; and Hogan Lovells.

Looking at PPP, Quinn Emanuel's above-mentioned rush to $3.62 million left it well shy of the perennial leader, M&A powerhouse Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, whose 0.2 percent decrease from 2009 still yielded a dazzling $4.345 million in profits per partner. Other firms scoring at least $3 million PPP are Sullivan & Cromwell (9.1 percent above last year), Cahill Gordon (up 27.4 percent), Cravath (up 16.8 percent), Kirkland & Ellis (up 23.2 percent), and Paul, Weiss (up 15.3 percent).

About The Am Law 100
The American Lawyer's Am Law 100 has been recognized as the definitive public ranking of financial performance for the nation's largest law firms since its introduction in 1987. Am Law 100/200 metrics are primary benchmarks for law firms seeking to assess their competitive position in the marketplace. Am Law 100 spreadsheet data is available for online purchase at www.almlegalintelligence.com. In June, The American Lawyer will publish its rankings of the second hundred largest firms.

About ALM
ALM is a leading provider of news and business information to the legal and real estate industries. Its market-leading brands include The American Lawyer, Corporate Counsel, GlobeSt.com, Insight Conferences, Law.com, Law Journal Press, LegalTech, The National Law Journal and Real Estate Forum. Headquartered in New York City, ALM was formed in 1997. For more information, visit www.alm.com.

ALM, The American Lawyer, Corporate Counsel, GlobeSt.com, Insight Conferences, Law.com, Law Journal Press, Law Technology News, LegalTech, The National Law Journal and Real Estate Forum are trademarks or registered trademarks of ALM Media Properties, LLC.

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