February 10, 2012 11:58 AM
The Am Law 100: the Early Numbers: At Dorsey & Whitney, Revenue Flat, Profits Dip
Posted by Amy Kolz
Stanching a two-year, 12 percent decline, Dorsey & Whitney saw its finances stabilize in 2011, according to reporting by The American Lawyer. The Minneapolis-based firm's gross revenue inched up 0.3 percent to $323.5 million, while profits per partner fell 0.9 percent to $560,000.
"While no one wants to say that they're excited when results are flat or slightly up, I think we have stabilized, and we're happy about the markers that [show us] moving up after an unpredictable last couple years," says managing partner Marianne Short, who noted that Dorsey's $1 million increase in revenue is "not insignificant."
On the transactional side, Dorsey advised corporate clients on a string of high-profile transactions last year. Those assignments included representing RightNow Technologies on its $1.5 billion sale to Oracle Corporation, announced in October. That same month, Dorsey represented Richfield, Minnesota–based Best Buy on its sale of Napster to on-demand music site Rhapsody. Toward the end of the year, firm lawyers served as lead counsel to German auto parts and engineering company Robert Bosch on its $1.15 billion acquisition of SPX Corporation, which was announced in January. Clients 3M, U.S. Bancorp, The Mosaic Company, and UnitedHealthcare kept Dorsey's litigation department busy.
Dorsey lost 6.3 percent of its lawyers last year, a drop Short attributes primarily to associate attrition. That decline in head count helped drive a 7 percent increase in revenue per lawyer, to $610,000. But productivity was up as well, says Short, pointing to a 3 percent increase in hours among the remaining attorneys. The firm expects to beef up its incoming associate class this fall to meet the growing demand, in addition to making strategic partner hires in the intellectual property and regulatory areas, according to Short.
Dorsey will also continue to focus on expanding its Asia offices, Short says. In August, the firm announced an alliance with a 20-lawyer boutique in Shanghai. Dorsey added roughly a dozen lateral partners in Shanghai, Hong Kong, New York, and Washington, D.C., to augment the firm's capabilities in Asia, Short says.
This report is part of The Am Law Daily's early coverage of 2011 financial results of The Am Law 100/200. 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. An interactive chart of the financial results reported so far is available here. The chart will updated as additional data is reported.Make a comment