Business of Law

BigLaw Money Machine Revs Up Again: PPP Rose 8.4% at Am Law 100 in 2010, to Average $1.36M

The BigLaw money machine was back in business again in 2010, according to the American Lawyer’s annual survey of the nation’s 100 largest law firms.

Average profit per partner was up 8.4 percent, to $1.36 million, after increasing only 0.3 percent in 2009 and falling 4.3 percent in 2008, reports the DealBook blog of the New York Times.

At the top of the magazine’s list to be published tomorrow were two well-known names:

Los Angeles-based business litigation firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, whose gross soared 31 percent to $550.5 million, was the best performer for the year.

And New York corporate mergers and acquisitions specialist Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz once again had the highest PPP, at $4.35 million, even though that represented a 0.2 percent decrease from 2009.

At Quinn Emanuel, PPP was up 15.7 percent, but even so was substantially lower, at $3.62 million.

Another major New York firm, Cravath Swaine & Moore, hit a record $3.17 million PPP, representing a 16.8 percent increase.

However, the Am Law 100 firms achieved this success by reducing both their total attorney ranks and equity partners, the DealBook article notes.

Lawyer headcount went down 2.7 percent, the largest annual amount in the history of the Am Law 100 rankings, to 83,513.

And the number of equity partners was cut by 0.9 percent, following a 0.7 percent cut in 2009.

Related coverage: “Eye-Popping Bonuses at Boies Schiller Top Out at Over $200K, Average $75K” “Cahill Revenue Soars 20% to $323M, PPP Rockets 27% to $3.23M, Both All-Time Records” “Quinn Emanuel to Pay Associate Bonuses of Up to $82K, As Boies Schiller Tops Out at Over $200K” “NY BigLaw Dominates, Wachtell Remains at Profession’s Pinnacle in Annual Vault 100 Survey” “BigLaw Lost Nearly 10K Lawyers in Last Three Years”

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