Arnold & Porter had a solid year in 2009. The firm brought in $524 million in gross revenue last year, which marked a 2% increase over 2008. In 2008, The Am Law 100 reported that Arnold & Porter brought in $513 million in revenue.
The firm increased its overall headcount by 3.2% from 594 to 613, putting revenue per lawyer at $854,812. That’s a 1.1% decrease from the $865,000 reported in 2008. Arnold & Porter brought in $211 million in net compensation last year—a 12.3% increase in profits over 2008. PPP also rose 10.3 % to $1.01 million.
Firm chairman Thomas Milch said 2009 is the third year in a row that the firm posted increases to its revenue and profits. “We considered 2009 to be a very good year. We had a strong performance and were able to stay true to our core values, which was important to us,” Milch said.
The firm added a net of four equity partners for a 3.4% increase and a total of 209. The firm does not have a two-tier partnership.
Milch said that the firm’s performance in 2009 was driven by strong performances across its litigation, antitrust, international arbitration, and regulatory practices, particularly in the financial services and banking areas.
Arnold & Porter’s antitrust practice counts some big names among its clients. The firm is representing General Electric in the sale of NBC Universal to Comcast. Arnold & Porter also represented Kraft during the acquisition of Cadbury. The firm also represents Visa on antitrust matters.
The firm’s corporate and bankruptcy practices handled Quebecor World’s Chapter 11 financial restructuring last year.
Those matters were not enough to keep the firm from culling 44 staff members from its U.S. offices in September. “We were able to avoid some of the more draconian measures some firms used, including cutting lawyers,” Milch said. “It was very unfortunate we had a staff reduction, but it was the right thing to do for the firm going forward.”
Among the new partners last year was Lisa Blatt, who joined the firm in November from the U.S. solicitor general’s office to coordinate Arnold & Porter’s appellate cases. Before Blatt’s hire, the firm’s appellate cases were spread across the firm. In April, the firm brought on John Bellinger III, who served as the top legal adviser for the State Department under Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. And in December, the firm added former Genentech in-house counsel Ginger Dreger to its intellectual property practice in San Francisco. Dreger brought three associates with her.
Though Arnold & Porter routinely posts impressive pro bono numbers, last year the firm redoubled its efforts. In what marked a 10% increase, Arnold & Porter reports that in 2009 its U.S. lawyers volunteered 92,527 hours.
13,000 of those hours came from its work on an American Bar Association report concerning the immigration removal system. That project was the largest single-year pro bono project the firm has ever undertaken.