The Score

January 29, 2010 1:51 PM

THE AM LAW 100: Paul Weiss Reports "Most Profitable Year in Firm's History"

Posted by Vivia Chen

Many Am Law 100 firms are reeling from the recession, but not Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison. The firm has just reported its 2009 financials and the numbers look very respectable.

Though the firm's gross revenue slipped by 3.8 percent, from $692 million in 2008 to $665.5 million in 2009, profits per equity partners (PPP) hit $2.69 million, up from $2.65 million in 2008. Notably, the firm achieved its results without resorting to layoffs. In fact, lawyer head count at the firm increased slightly from 647 to 653.

Firm chair Brad Karp describes 2009 as "the most profitable year in our firm's history," noting that the restructuring and litigation practices were particularly busy. "The last quarter of 2009 was the busiest period in our firm's history," Karp says. He credits the firm's conservative growth policies--what he calls "our strategy of incremental growth"--for the healthy results.

There's also the fact that Paul Weiss represented--and continues to represent--several of the largest financial institutions now under siege, including Citigroup, Bank of America, and JPMorgan/Bear Stearns. "We are fortunate to have been tapped by a number of the most significant financial institutions in the world to handle their most challenging representations as they navigate the financial crisis," Karp says.

The firm is defending Citigroup in subprime and credit-related litigation and representing Citi in lawsuits related to its involvement in the Enron and Parmalat fraud cases. Moreover, Paul Weiss is defending Bank of America in litigation arising from its much-criticized merger with Merrill Lynch. The firm also serves as lead counsel to JPMorgan/Bear Stearns in lawsuits stemming from the collapse of Bear Stearns in 2008.

Given this client roster and the woes these institutions will likely continue to face, 2010 is bound to be another busy one for the firm. "We are optimistic about the firm’s future," says Karp.

This report is part of The Am Law Daily's ongoing Web coverage of The Am Law 100’s 2009 financials. Results are preliminary. Final rankings and full results for The Am Law 100 will be published in The American Lawyer's May 2010 issue and on The Am Law Second Hundred will be published in the June issue.

The final published results of last year's Am Law 100 rankings are available here.

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This is actually not true. Paul Weiss did resort to lay offs (associates, paralegals and staff attorneys)of many employees and explained that it was due to the economy and lack of work.

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