Business of Law

Riding the Revenue Roller-Coaster: Income Down, PPP Up at Dewey and Dickstein Firms

  • Print

As more annual financial results are reported by major law firms after a dismal year economically, the roller-coaster ride continues: At many, profits are down, sometimes considerably. But belt-tightening has resulted in relatively strong profit per partner figures at a number of firms despite decreased revenue.

At Dewey & LeBoeuf, gross revenue for 2009 dropped 11.3 percent, to $913.876 million. Yet the average profit per equity partner was up 3.4 percent to $1.6 million after a 10 percent reduction in the firm’s equity partner ranks, recounts the American Lawyer.

The firm’s total attorney roster, which numbered 1,268 in 2008, was cut to 1,054 last year. A total of 20 equity partners left the firm, the article says.

At Dickstein Shapiro, gross revenue was down 4.78 percent to $297 million. However, profit per equity partner was up 6.76 percent, to $1.05 million, reports the Blog of Legal Times. The firm’s equity partner roster was reduced 11.17 percent in 2009.

At Winston & Strawn, profit per partner remained flat at $1.283 million, despite a 5 percent drop in revenue, the American Lawyer reports.

Although the total number of equity partners stayed at 184, the firm dramatically cut bonuses, according to David McDonald, the firm’s chief financial officer. Average compensation for nonequity partners, he says, was down 14.5 percent.

Meanwhile, at Debevoise & Plimpton, gross revenue in 2009 dropped 12 percent to $667.9 million, and profit per equity partner plummeted 16 percent to $1.87 million, reports another American Lawyer article.

However, presiding partner Martin Frederic Evans tells the legal publication that he has a “pretty good degree of optimism” about the coming year’s financial results.

Earlier coverage: “Despite Decreased Revenue at Some Law Firms in 2009, Sunnier Year May Be Ahead”

Give us feedback, share a story tip or update, or report an error.