Covington & Burling posted increases in gross revenue, profits per partner and net income for fiscal year 2011, welcome news after the firm saw little or no growth in those same areas in 2010.
Gross revenue grew by 5.1 percent for the Washington-based firm, from $581.5 million in fiscal year 2010 to $611 million last year, according to our reporting. Profits per partner were up by 3.9 percent during that same period, from $1.155 million to $1.2 million, and net income grew by 6.4 percent, from $259 million to $275.5 million.
Firm chair Timothy Hester said the data reflect steady investment in headcount and international presence, even as the recession took a toll on the firm's bottom line in the past. In 2011, the firm added attorneys in its London, Beijing and other overseas offices, and just announced plans to open a Shanghai office later this year.
“We thought the right strategy for the firm was to expand our scale,” Hester said, adding, “We were prepared to hang tough.”
During Covington's 2011 fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, the firm took on more patent litigation work, thanks to its growing California presence, Hester said. Attorneys in the San Francisco office also assisted Microsoft Corp. with its $8.5 billion purchase of Skype Global, along with other big transactional work.
The firm continued to grow its core practices as well. In the regulatory arena, the firm saw growth in its life sciences and banking practices, Hester said. On the life sciences front, notably, the firm has represented Eli Lilly & Co. in a dispute with Amylin Pharmaceuticals Inc. over a new diabetes drug, winning the denial of a preliminary injunction that would have stood in the way of Eli Lilly’s marketing efforts.