Last month, Legal Times reported that Crowell & Moring had such a strong 2008 that the firm was able to start paying some of its 2009 bills in advance. Scott Winkelman, a partner in the firm’s D.C. office and a member of its three-person executive committee, said Crowell had already “prepaid millions of dollars’ worth of expenses,” including vendor and insurance bills, and expenses associated with the firm’s new offices in New York.
At the time, a legal consultant familiar with Crowell said the firm saw double-digit revenue growth in 2008, but Crowell would not confirm any financial information. Now, Crowell’s 2008 financials are in, and they are indeed impressive.
Crowell reports that gross revenue is up 25.86 percent to more than $296 million. Profits per partner spiked more than 22 percent, coming in just shy of the million-dollar mark at $999,765. Revenue per lawyer rose 13.2 percent to $741,302.
Firm chairman Kent Gardiner attributes Crowell’s stellar 2008 to three factors: the successful completion of high-stakes litigation, the diversity of Crowell’s practice mix, and overall growth in head count.
The largest and most lucrative piece of litigation that Crowell handled last year was its representation of Enron Creditors Recovery Corp. against Citigroup, in which Citi agreed to pay Enron Creditors a settlement of $1.66 billion. Gardiner says the firm also took on more work on a success-fee basis in 2008 and saw lucrative outcomes from those matters.
Crowell grew by 40 lawyers, adding an intellectual property group from Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney and a public policy group from Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, and opening a new Los Angeles office.
Despite Crowell’s success last year, Gardiner is cautious when looking ahead. “2009 is a very challenging year, a very challenging year for our clients,” he says.