Biglaw, john quinn, Money, Partner Issues, Partner Profits

Partner Profit Reports: Quinn Emanuel, Bingham, Perkins Coie

The weather here in New York City has turned quite cold. How can one deal with the brutally frigid temperatures?

Well, if you’re a partner at Quinn Emanuel, maybe you should buy yourself a fur coat. Or fill a fireplace with hundred-dollar bills and get a nice toasty blaze going.

Given the firm’s financial performance in 2012, these options lie within the realm of possibility. CHECK YOU EMAIL for direct deposit notification.

Let’s take a look at 2012 financial reports concerning Quinn Emanuel, Bingham, and Perkins Coie. There’s some good news in each firm’s numbers….

We’ll start with the Quinn news. The firm is phenomenally successful and not afraid to crow about it. We received a press release yesterday from a high-powered public relations firm, Rubinstein Associates, touting the QE results:

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP today released its financial results for 2012.

Gross Revenues: $852,586,676 (up 17.85% over last year)

Net Profits: $586,311,563 (up 17.37% over last year)

Profits per equity partner: $4,435,719 (up 6.61% over last year)

Revenues per lawyer: $1,223,223 (up 9.4% over last year)

Very impressive. The firm’s loss in Apple v. Samsung didn’t seem to damage the bottom line.

These numbers shouldn’t surprise industry observers. As law firm partner turned legal consultant Edwin Reeser commented to me, “It isn’t news when Paul Weiss or Wachtell or Quinn Emanuel does well… no surprise there! That’s like saying DeBeers found more diamonds this year. Absent something truly aberrational and not explained, there just isn’t a dynamic or response that should be other than ‘well done.'”

True enough. Even the eminently quotable John Quinn didn’t have anything particularly sexy to say about his firm’s figures:

Managing partner John Quinn stated: “We had an extraordinarily busy year. We benefited significantly from contingent fee and other alternative billing arrangements, both on the plaintiffs and defense side. These sort of numbers could not have been possible without the hard work of our team of extremely talented lawyers.”

Quinn Emanuel’s revenues and profits have increased by double digits in all but one of the last eleven years.

Incredible performance. If we didn’t have clear evidence of the firm’s success — in terms of its notable victories and settlements, described over at Am Law Daily — we’d wonder if Quinn Emanuel is a house of cards. Boy Dewey know how some firms’ foundations can be less than stable.

Quinn isn’t the only firm with happy news to report from last year. Am Law Daily is providing preliminary reports on firms’ financial performance, in advance of the big unveiling of the Am Law 100 rankings, and recent dispatches are encouraging.

Take Bingham. According to the American Lawyer, the firm’s gross revenue climbed 0.4 percent last year to $872 million, close to an all-time high for the firm. Profits per partner dropped slightly, to a still-robust $1.69 million, partly due to the firm’s investing in its new business services center in Lexington, Kentucky.

“Our global service center initiative has been a hugely significant step for us,” Bingham’s chair, Jay Zimmerman, told Am Law. “It cost us a lot of money and that had an impact on partner profits — without it we would’ve had our best year ever — but we think it’s a great investment for the future.” According to Zimmerman, the center will be cash-flow positive by 2014 and produce an estimated $25 million in savings starting in 2016.

Growth in revenue, a dip in profits — the same pattern held at Perkins Coie. Revenue grew 11 percent in 2012, hitting $608 million, while profits per partner fell a tiny bit, to $1.015 million.

Why the drop in PPP? Perkins Coie’s explanation is similar to Bingham’s: investment in the future. According to managing partner Robert Giles, “Growth costs money. We brought a lot of people in and started paying them before we started getting collections.”

That’s perfectly fine to do, on a limited scale; do it too much, though, and you run the risk of doing a Dewey. But it doesn’t seem like Perkins Coie is in any danger of that. They’re not paying their people like Dewey, and the bulk of their lateral partner hires have joined as non-equity partners.

We’ll have more detailed coverage when the closely watched Am Law 100 rankings appear. Am Law keeps teasing its readers with these “Early Numbers,” but most folks just want to be shown the money.

The Am Law 100, the Early Numbers: Quinn Emanuel Sees Revenue Surge, Profits Rise [Am Law Daily]
The Am Law 100, the Early Numbers: Bingham Returns to Topline Growth [Am Law Daily]
The Am Law 100, the Early Numbers: Revenue Jumps, Profits Dip at Perkins Coie [Am Law Daily]

Earlier: If You Liked Living In Boston, You’re Gonna LOVE Living In Lexington, Kentucky

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