Arnold & Porter saw a 14.3 percent growth in gross revenue last year, according to our reporting. Profits per partner held steady at around $1.4 million, while the firm's overall lawyer headcount jumped by 10.7 percent.
The firm earned $731 million in gross revenue, up from $639.5 million in 2011. Profits per partner grew only slightly by around 1.4 percent, from $1,405,000 to $1,425,000. The firm's net income grew by 15.9 percent, from $304.5 million to $353 million.
Chairman Thomas Milch said the growth in gross revenue was due in large part to the firm's merger with San Francisco firm Howard Rice Nemerovski Canady Falk & Rabkin, which took effect on January 1, 2012. Howard Rice attorneys brought litigation and appellate experience, he said, as well as a solid corporate practice, an area that the firm wanted to expand on the West Coast.
"They complemented our practice," Milch said. "We thought it was going to be a good fit and it’s been a good fit.”
Howard Rice's clients included The Charles Schwab Corp., which the firm represented last year in a $350 million offering and in the sale of $425 million depositary shares.
Overall, Milch said, the firm saw growth in its life sciences regulatory practice, especially in patent litigation, false claims matters and product liability litigation related to the pharmaceutical industry. He said there was also growth in antitrust litigation and government and internal investigations.
Major matters in 2012 included handling the sale of approximately $63 billion in assets for Aurora Bank FSB to Nationstar Mortgage LLC. The firm continued to advise News Corp., as it faced fallout from the phone-hacking scandal and served on the legal team representing BP PLC on environmental matters related to the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
The firm's overall lawyer headcount grew from 676 in 2011 to 748 last year, and the number of equity partners jumped by 14.3 percent, from 217 to 248. Milch said the Howard Rice merger was behind most of that growth.
“That was the largest combination that we've had in our history and we were able to successfully, on the whole, integrate a significant group of people and do it very smoothly," Milch said. "I'm hoping this year we'll be able to see even more overlap.”
The firm lost the head of its antitrust practice, William Baer, who was confirmed last year as the new chief of the U.S. Department of Justice's antitrust division. But new hires last year included Robert Weiner, who rejoined as a partner after serving with the Justice Department, and L. Charles Landgraf, who was the Washington managing partner of now-defunct firm Dewey & LeBoeuf and led the firm's legislative and public policy group.
Despite consecutive years of growth, Milch said, the firm is bracing for another rough year for the legal industry. “We've had a very strong year, and it’s a tough time in the marketplace," he said. "We expect 2013 to be another challenging year for all law firms, including us.”
This report is part of The National Law Journal‘s coverage of 2012 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 2013 issue and on AmericanLawyer.com. The Am Law Second Hundred will be published in the June issue.