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January 30, 2009 5:40 PM

THE AM LAW 100: Dorsey & Whitney 2008 Revenue Flat

Posted by Amy Kolz

Minneapolis-based Dorsey & Whitney reported flat revenues with a small decrease in profits per partner for 2008. Gross revenues were just over $367 million and profits per partner were $661,000, a 1.6 percent decrease from the prior year.

"Nobody wants to be flat or just a bit up, but we're pleased with the confidence that clients have shown us," says managing partner Marianne Short, noting the challenges of the past three quarters.

The firm's activity was fairly even across practice areas with both litigation and corporate work accounting for significant chunks of revenue. Litigation accounted for approximately 35 percent of the firm’s revenue this year, with Dorsey's health litigation serving as a bright spot. (Short, a former Minnesota state appellate judge, is herself a prolific contributor to this practice, having historically represented clients such as UnitedHealth Group and Medica HealthPlans.) But the firm also saw a fair amount of corporate advisory and transactional work, including a close to a $1 billion bank financing for an Indian gaming project. Corporate work represented approximately 22 percent of gross revenue. And restructuring revenue, though only 5 percent of the total, helped, says Short.

The pain of the economic slowdown was equally balanced. "The striking thing about people reporting fewer hours and not making targets was that it was really across the board, in every practice group and every office," says Short. But the firm's efforts over the past two years to trim costs and avoid wild risks helped to lessen the slowdown's impact. "Those efforts paid off for us at the right time," she says. Dorsey swept away one big potential cost in January: the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals threw out a decade old case that could have cost the firm up to $4 million in malpractice verdicts.


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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