The Score

January 21, 2009 12:00 PM

THE AM LAW 100: Revenue, Profits Up at K&L Gates

Posted by Richard Lloyd

K&L Gates saw both revenues and profits increase in 2008, the firm reports. The Pittsburgh-based firm increased its gross revenue by 27 percent to $959.5 million, up from $755 million last year, while profits per equity partner (PPP) grew by almost 7 percent to $855,000, compared with $800,000 in 2007.

In the course of the year the firm grew in head count from 1235 to 1552. The boost came, in large part, from mergers with Texas firm Hughes & Luce and Kennedy Covington Lobdell & Hickman in North Carolina. K&L Gates also added overseas offices in Paris and Shanghai. Although the number of equity partners grew from 243 to 284, the nonequity ranks saw a much larger increase, jumping from 365 to 495.

Firm chairman Peter Kalis describes 2008 as a year of "extraordinary growth" in revenues and "incremental growth" in profits. "Our success in 2008 arose from client focus and a law firm platform diversified across nations, markets, currencies, industries, and practices," he says.

While K&L Gates missed out on breaking the $1 billion mark, this year's numbers are further confirmation of the firm’s long-term trend of year-on-year growth. In 2006 its revenues stood at just under $500 million, placing it at number 50 in The Am Law 100. Growth in profitability has been comparatively slow over the same period, ticking up from $780,000 to $854,000. Kalis insisted that the firm's approach to profitability was to "show positive growth year after year after year" and that it had managed to do that throughout his time as chairman.

The firm continued its expansionist goals at the start of 2009, announcing the launch of a new office in Frankfurt. The addition brings the number of international offices to eight, compared with 21 offices in the U.S. The K&L Gates equity partners are also due to vote January 30 on a merger with Chicago's Bell, Boyd & Lloyd, a union that will add about 225 attorneys and just under $130 million in revenues.

Kalis admits that the firm was looking at its options to open in the Middle East and that a number of practices would benefit from a K&L Gates office in Singapore. Despite those 21 offices in the U.S. Kalis admitted that there were still some planks missing in the firm's domestic network such as Houston, although he stressed that the firm was not in any talks to open there.

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 The Am Law Second Hundred will be published in the June issue.

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