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January 23, 2009 1:28 PM

THE AM LAW 100: Litigation Spurs Paul Weiss's Rise

Posted by Vivia Chen

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison had a solid 2008, with both revenue and profits moving up. Gross revenue reached $692 million (up 6.3 percent from 2007), and profits per equity partner climbed to $2.65 million (up 2.3 percent). At $1.07 million, revenue per lawyer was essentially flat (the number was up 0.22 percent from 2007). Head count at the firm, a traditional one-tier partnership, also grew by 6 percent to almost 650 lawyers.

Though the firm declined to comment about its financial performance, Paul Weiss's numbers undoubtedly are due to its strong litigation practice. In 2008, the firm handled several high-profile matters, most notably its successful defense of Citigroup in a $2 billion lawsuit in which Italian dairy giant Parmalat charged that the bank contributed to the fraud that led to Parmalat's bankruptcy. Jurors awarded Citigroup $364.2 million; Parmalat got nothing.

While some New York firms are likely to shrink in this market, Paul Weiss is likely to hold steady given its litigation docket: the firm is representing Bear Stearns in securities suits arising from the investment bank's failure and also counts two of Bernard Madoff's sons as clients.

The coming year promises to be just as busy, given Paul Weiss's role in Citigroup's reorganization and the fallout from changes at the bank. And recent lateral hires--including Beth Wilkinson, the former GC of Fannie Mae, and Walter Ricciardi, a deputy director of the SEC--should prove to be client magnets.


Click here for The Am Law 100 -- A Work in Progress, a chart tracking the numbers. The final published results of last year's Am Law 100 ranking are available here.

This report is part of The Am Law Daily's ongoing Web coverage of The Am Law 100s 2008 financials, bringing you our own reports and those from our sibling publications at Incisive Media. Results are preliminary. In keeping with past practices, we do not reveal which firms cooperate in providing financial information and which do not.

Final rankings and full results for The Am Law 100 will be published in The American Lawyer's May issue and on AmericanLawyer.com. The Am Law Second Hundred will be published in the June issue.

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