March 18, 2010 6:00 AM
THE AM LAW 100: A Good Year for Cravath
Posted by Susan Beck
Cravath, Swaine & Moore joins the exclusive ranks of New York firms that achieved a significant jump in both revenue and profits per equity partner (PPP) last year. The firm's revenue rose 7 percent to $569 million; PPP increased 8 percent to $2.7 million, according to our reporting.
We recently reported similar results for Davis Polk & Wardwell, contrasting the firm to most of its Manhattan-based competitors whose revenue in 2009 was flat or declined. Davis Polk's PPP rose 10 percent last year. Still, at $2.7 million, Cravath's 2009 profits are higher overall (profits per equity partner at Davis Polk in 2009 were $2.1 million).
Cravath's 2009 results are an optimistic change from a disappointing 2008 when revenue fell 13 percent and PPP plunged 24 percent, as we reported last year. Despite this rebound, the firm's numbers remain below the high water mark of 2007, when revenue reached $610.5 million and PPP soared to $3.3 million.
Most of Cravath's practice groups appeared busy, based on public deals, cases, and other matters. The firm's mergers and acquisitions group handled multibillion dollar deals for longstanding clients such as Bristol-Myers, Time Warner, and IBM, plus special assignments from new clients like ACS, which was acquired by Xerox. On the securities side, the firm represented Mead Johnson in the first IPO of 2009, which broke a three-month freeze in the IPO market. In litigation, the firm achieved successful results for Morgan Stanley in its battles with Discover, as well as for Alcoa, Novartis, Massey Energy, and Credit Suisse.
Unlike some firms, Cravath did not improve its numbers by cutting its ranks. The firm's overall head count rose 8 percent, to 477 lawyers, and the number of equity partners rose slightly from 90 to 92. Revenue per lawyer did slip by 1.5 percent to $1.192 million.
This report is part of The Am Law Daily's ongoing Web coverage of 2009 financial results of The Am Law 100/200. 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 AmericanLawyer.com. The Am Law Second Hundred will be published in the June issue.Make a comment