Senior lawyers at three of Boston’s biggest law firms had their most profitable year ever in 2009, despite widespread job losses in the city’s legal industry.
Bingham McCutchen, Fish & Richardson, and WilmerHale all said they recorded the highest average profits per partner ever in 2009. Meanwhile, some other firms reported better-than-expected financial results.
For the associates laid off by Bingham, the associates laid off by Fish, and for the staff laid off by WilmerHale, I don’t know what to tell you. Biglaw partners in Boston didn’t just find a way to make money during the recession, they were able to make more money than ever before.
I guess all of the laid off associates and staff can feel good about helping them rake in the dough?
All the gory details after the jump.
Cost cutting — a phrase that sounds much better than “destroying the careers of your young employees” — played a huge role in the strong profit numbers:
“What we’ve seen in 2009 is that profits held up well because of significant cost saving measures,” said Brion Bickerton, a legal recruiter for search firm Major Lindsey & Africa. “Those measures were the difference between profits being up, and profits being down 10 to 20 percent.”
Chairman Jay Zimmerman said Bingham’s success is a result of its focus on restructuring and insolvency work, a boom area during a downturn, and continued expansion in its offices in Europe and Asia. It also benefited from a merger with tax law specialist McKee Nelson in August, which boosted income.
“We’ve had our best year ever,” Zimmerman said. Still, “like most firms, we have been prudent in terms of our expenses.”
Over at Fish & Richardson, the partnership was similarly chipper:
“It was a painful year for everyone,” managing partner Tim French said. “Everybody had layoffs but everybody has grown in other areas by focusing on what they do best, or on where there are opportunities.”
Well, it wasn’t a painful year for “everyone” now, was it?
I’m happy that Biglaw partners in Boston were able to make so much money. I just imagine that the profit numbers are a little bit hard to swallow for all the people sacrificed on the altar of PPP.
Profits soar for law partners [Boston Globe]
Earlier: What Did Paul Weiss Just Say?
All Your Sacrifices Helped in 2009