Thanks to a combination of cuts and acquisitions, Richmond-based McGuireWoods managed to finish 2009 up in gross revenue, down in net profits, and up in profits per equity partner.
The firm’s gross revenue grew 6.73%, from $477 million to $509 million. Revenue per lawyer stayed nearly even, dipping .09%, from $595,320 to $594,773.
McGuireWoods’ net profits dropped by 3.03%. But the decrease was offset by a 8.59% cut in the number of equity partners, from 192 to 175, so profits per equity partner rose by a healthy 6.21%, from $754,226 to $801,028.
So what drove revenue higher? Managing Partner Thomas Cabaniss said that McGuireWoods maintained its business with longtime clients, and that its insolvency and restructuring practice had “a fantastic year.” Cabaniss said the firm also got a boost in 2009 from two key mergers: its March 2008 marriage with Charlotte, N.C.-based Helms Mullis & Wicker, which generated its first full year of revenue; and its May 2009 acquisition of London-based Grundberg Mocatta Rakison, which brought 36 additional lawyers to the firm.
The Grundberg merger helped McGuireWoods raise overall headcount to 856 lawyers. The number of nonequity partners also jumped 17.92%, from 212 to 250. Nonequity compensation grew 26.9%, from $65 million to $82.5 million.
Cabaniss said that the firm attempted to “aggressively manage its expenses,” though he declined to point to specific cost saving measures. The firm announced in May that it would cut incoming associate salaries by 10%, from $160,000 to $144,000. Above the Law also reported that the firm froze other associate salaries at 2008 levels and shrank its summer program to eight weeks.