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February 19, 2010 3:27 PM

THE AM LAW 100: Kirkland & Ellis Holds Steady

Posted by D.M. Levine

Looks like Kirkland & Ellis has had a pretty good year. The Chicago-based firm has seen an increase in gross revenue of 2 percent, from $1.4 billion in 2008 to $1.428 billion in 2009. Net revenue grew by more than 16 percent, from $580 million to $674 million. Profits per equity partner (PPP) rose by about 1 percent, from $2,468,085.11 in 2008 to 2,495,000 in 2009.

Head count jumped in 2009 as well. Overall, the number of K&E lawyers rose nearly 6 percent, from 1,333 to 1,411 lawyers. The number of partners rose over 10 percent, from 545 to 602. The increase came despite some cuts in personnel. As reported by Above the Law, Kirkland has laid off nonequity partners, and last September, the firm laid off 20 associates from its New York office, as well as some associates in Washington D.C., according to the WSJ law blog.

The increase in lawyer numbers helped push down revenue per lawyer (RPL), even while overall revenue grew. RPL was down around 3.6 percent, from $1.050 million to $1.012 million in 2009.

Last year, Kirkland took on the largest real estate bankruptcy in U.S. history--the insolvency of General Growth Partners--which the firm handled along with Weil, Goschal & Manges. That engagement, along with other high-profile matters the firm took on in 2009, may explain its relatively steady financial results.

Kirkland & Ellis declined to comment for this story.

This report is part of The Am Law Daily's ongoing Web coverage of The Am Law 100’s 2009 financials. 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.

The final published results of last year's Am Law 100 rankings are available here.

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Hopefully the job market rebound is soon to follow.

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