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February 28, 2011 6:11 PM

The Am Law 100: Shearman Revenues, Profits Dip on Low Collections

Posted by Michael D. Goldhaber

Shearman & Sterling saw gross revenue decline 8 percent in 2010, to $737 million, and average profits per equity partner also dropped by the same percentage to $1,565,217, according to figures reported by the firm.

Revenue per lawyer and billable hours stayed roughly flat, at $927,044 and 1.5 million hours, respectively.

Senior partner Rohan Weerasinghe attributes the dips to an unusual number of big deals straddling the new year, which will lead to revenue collected in 2011. "We had a very strong second half, and we're going into 2011 with a strong pipeline," he says. Had the firm enjoyed its usual collection rate, Weerasinghe says, revenues would have held steady.

Shearman also saw lawyer head count fall to 795 and nonpartner head count (associates/counsel/of counsel) to 584, which represent declines of about 8 percent and 11 percent, respectively. The number of nonequity partners surged by about 70 percent, to 27. Weerasinghe says that, although the firm remained cautious in entry-level recruiting, in 2010 it welcomed back its deferred associates and was active on the market for lateral talent.

Last year saw Shearman open a new office in Milan, and double the number of partners in its Hong Kong office to eight, partly through the lateral recruitment of Hong Kong law specialists Colin Law and Peter Chen from O'Melveny & Myers. Last week, it announced the hiring of a well-regarded antitrust team from Howrey in Brussels.

In 2010 M&A highlights, Shearman advised the targets in Kraft Foods's $19.5 billion takeover of Cadbury,  and SAP America's $5.8 billion purchase of Sybase.

In 2010 IPO bragging rights, Shearman advised the underwriters on the largest-ever offering in the world (Petrobras) and Southeast Asia (Petronas), as well as the year’s largest in North America (Athabasca Oil Sands) and Europe (Enel Green Power).

"We're getting landmark cross-border matters and building out our platform strategically," says Weerasinghe. "It's taking a little time for the impact to show, but it definitely will."

 

Click here for all our ongoing coverage of The Am Law 100.

This report is part of The Am Law Daily's ongoing Web coverage of 2010 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 2011 issue and on AmericanLawyer.com. The Am Law Second Hundred will be published in the June issue.

Results for the 2010 fiscal year reflect a change in the survey methodology. Per-lawyer and per-partner results for 2010 are based on a full calendar year average FTE head count, while published results for previous years were, in most cases, based on an August 31 FTE head count. When possible, we have recalculated fiscal year 2009 numbers to reflect the change in head count and based percentages on those adjusted numbers.

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

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