The Score

February 3, 2012 7:14 PM

The Am Law 100, the Early Numbers: Weil's Profits Jump 8 percent

Posted by Scott Graham

Weil, Gotshal & Manges is on the rebound.

After seeing revenues and profits slip in 2010, the firm enjoyed moderate growth in 2011, with all financial metrics ahead of where they were in 2009, according to The American Lawyer's reporting.

Gross revenue increased 3.8 percent in 2010 from $1.185 billion to $1.229 billion. Revenue per lawyer was up 3.4 percent to $1.065 million, while profits per partner jumped 8 percent to $2.44 million.

Litigation stemming from the financial crisis fallout remained a strong spot for the firm, with Weil, Gotshal piloting Lehman Brothers to court approval of its $65 billion Chapter 11 plan in December, and persuading the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in March to dismiss a derivative action against 33 AIG directors. Copyright litigation was active too, with the firm winning summary judgment for Marvel Entertainment and parent Walt Disney over the rights to comic book superheroes and litigating a six-week trial for academic publishing houses against Georgia State University over the posting of course content online.  

On the transactional side, Weil, Gotshal was counsel to Kinder Morgan Inc. in its purchase of El Paso Corp. for $37.4 billion in cash and assumed debt, the second biggest deal in the world last year, and represented French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi-Aventis in its $20.1 billion takeover of Genzyme Corp.

"It was . . . clear in 2011 that the investments we have made in our European platform were paying dividends as evidenced by their excellent results," said firm spokeswoman Elizabeth Ventura.

The firm advised on 160 M&A deals worth an aggregate $162.9 billion in 2011, compared with 166 deals worth $165.7 billion in 2010, according to mergermarket data.

Overall lawyer head count at Weil, Gotshal was virtually unchanged in 2011, with the ranks increasing by one to 1,153. The number of equity partners dropped from 194 to 186 while nonequity partners grew from 105 to 109.

Weil, Gotshal maintained its all-time high profit margin from last year of 37 percent, while leverage grew from 4.94 to 5.20.

This report is part of The Am Law Daily's ongoing Web coverage of 2011 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 2012 issue and on The Am Law Second Hundred will be published in the June issue.

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