February 28, 2012 3:25 PM

The Am Law 100, the Early Numbers: Paul Hastings Sees Revenue, Profits Dip

Posted by Drew Combs

For Paul Hastings, the world was essentially flat in 2011.

The firm’s gross revenue declined 2 percent to $884 million, while profits per equity partner fell a modest 1.3 percent to roughly $1.97 million, according to reporting by The American Lawyer. At the same time, revenue per lawyer passed the $1 million mark for the first time ever, rising 1.5 percent to $1.01 million.

“We are happy whenever we break a mark,” Paul Hastings chairman Seth Zachary says in reference to passing the $1 million revenue-per-lawyer milestone, adding that the increase was a product of firm lawyers being “a little more productive last year.” Overall, Zachary describes 2011’s financial performance as “steady.”

As the year came to a close, Paul Hastings was a smaller firm than it was at the end of 2010. The number of equity partners decreased by six (3.1 percent) to 189, while overall attorney head count declined by 29 (3.2 percent) to 881.

Amid the flat financial results and slightly diminished head count, Zachary says some practice groups that saw an uptick in work in 2011. Specifically, he points to the firm’s finance specialists in New York and London, its Asia-focused capital markets group, and an intellectual property practice spread across Silicon Valley, New York, and Washington, D.C.

Key transactional matters handled by the firm last year include its representation of JPMorgan Chase Co. as the underwriter on the secondary listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Depository Receipts of Coach, Inc. Paul Hastings also represented Singapore’s Mapletree Investments Pte. Ltd. in its $2.4 billion acquisition of Hong Kong shopping and commercial complex Festival Walk.

Other corporate deals included representing lead arrangers RBC Capital Markets and MNO Capital Markets in connection with their financing of the $1.6 billion acquisition of 99 Cents Only Stores by Ares Management LLC and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, and advising Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., in a $1.38 billion deal to sell its hard disk drive-manufacturing arm to Seagate Technology plc.

Paul Hastings litigators handled some notable matters as well, including defending Apple, Inc., against patent infringement claims brought by Mirror Worlds LLC in U.S. district court for the Eastern District of Texas. Though the jury hearing the case awarded Mirror Worlds a $625 million damages award, the judge overseeing the case threw out the verdict.

Looking ahead to 2012, Zachary sees the firm’s real estate and capital markets groups rebounding from what was for both a somewhat soft 2011.

This report is part of The Am Law Daily’s early coverage of 2011 financial results of The Am Law 100/200. Final rankings and full results for The Am Law 100 will be published in The American Lawyer’s May 2012 issue and on AmericanLawyer.com. The Am Law Second Hundred will be published in the June issue. An interactive chart of the financial results reported so far is available here. The chart will be updated as additional data is reported.

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