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January 30, 2012 5:43 PM

The Am Law 100, the Early Numbers: Profits, Gross Revenue Up at Jenner

Posted by Drew Combs

Jenner & Block saw its gross revenue and profits per partner pushed to record levels last year thanks to a combination of new work, cost-cutting, and fewer equity partners.

Gross revenue inched up 2.6 percent in 2011 to $389 million, while the firm's profits per equity partner enjoyed a more substantial jump—rising 11.2 percent to $1.55 million. While last year's increase in profits was more modest than the 29 percent jump Jenner saw in 2010, it nonetheless continues a strong upward trajectory. Revenue per lawyer, meanwhile, rose 4 percent to $900,000.

"We had several important matters over the course of the year, which drove us to record profitability and record revenues" says Jenner managing partner Susan Levy, adding that the firm also benefited from keeping costs below budget forecasts.

Jenner's notable assignments over the past year include its work as litigation counsel for News Corporation's Fox Sports in a dispute with Los Angeles Dodgers regarding media rights for the bankrupt baseball team. A team of firm lawyers also successfully represented video game industry clients in a  challenge before the U.S. Supreme Court to a California law that put in place age restrictions to the sale or rental of violent video games. Last July, the Court struck down the law. Jenner also represented Swiss-based Lonza Group Ltd. in an agreement announced in July 2011 to acquire the outstanding shares of Arch Chemicals, Inc., for approximately $1.2 billion. 

Some of the firm's increase in profits was driven by a reduction in the equity partnership ranks, which declined nearly 7 percent to 109. That drop follows an 11 percent decline in equity partners in 2010. Levy describes the shrinkage as "nothing out of the ordinary" and in line with broader trends in lateral partner movements.

While Jenner's total lawyer head count also declined from 438 to 433, Jenner non–equity partner ranks grew 15.3 percent to 83. According to Levy, who says Jenner 12 new partners last year. "typically lateral partners are stipend partners for a year before they become equity partners."

Recent lateral additions to the firm include former Federal Communications Commission official John Flynn, who joined the Jenner's Washington, D.C. office as a partner earlier this month. In November, Jenner announced the addition of six Hogan Lovells partners to its Los Angeles office.

Levy underscored the business imperative of making lateral partner hires these days.

"New clients were key to our increase in revenues," says Levy, "and many of those new clients came from our new partners."

This report is part of The Am Law Daily's ongoing Web coverage of 2011 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 2012 issue and on AmericanLawyer.com. The Am Law Second Hundred will be published in the June issue.

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