By Leigh Jones
Gross revenue at Steptoe & Johnson LLP slumped by nearly 3 percent in 2012, while other financials remained flat or increased a bit.
The 2.8 percent decline in gross revenue to $366 million stemmed from unusually high contingency fees earned in 2011, chairman Roger Warin said. Those fees, which totaled about $20 million, helped bring the firm’s gross revenue in 2011 to $376.5 million, a 9.1 percent jump over 2010. They also caused the revenue per lawyer to remain unchanged in 2012 at $890,000, Warin said.
Profits per partner edged up by 1 percent to $980,000 in 2012, compared with $970,000 in 2011.
"It's not where I want to be but, given the challenges among firms with decreasing demand from corporate clients, the demand to buy hours dropped dramatically in 2008. It hasn't jumped back," he said.
The average partner compensation also rose by 1 percent, to $980,000. The firm shrank by 11 attorneys in 2012, to 411 attorneys. It had 148 equity partners and no nonequity partners, the same as in 2011.
Contingency fees usually account for less than 3 percent of the firm’s revenue, Warin said. The contingency fees in 2011 with the biggest effect on the bottom line came from a long-running case in which the firm represented American prisoners of war held in Iraq; that brought in about $15 million, he said.
The firm is focusing on intellectual property matters, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act matters and white-collar defense for more opportunities, Warin said.
"We're progressing," he said. "It's modest. It’s not dramatic."