The Am Law 100, the Early Numbers: Deal Work a Boon for Paul Hastings

, The Am Law Daily

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AmLaw 100

Paul Hastings registered across-the-board improvements in its financial performance last year, with gross revenues rising 3.6 percent, to $941 million, profits per equity partner climbing 4.6 percent, to $2.175 million, and revenue per lawyer up a full 5 percent, to $1.06 million, according to reporting from The American Lawyer.

“We see 2013 as a solid year,” says Paul Hastings chairman Seth Zachary. “Our financial results, even as markets remain challenging, reflect a continuing growth of the firm’s practice in terms of volume and breadth.” With demand for legal services mostly stagnant, Zachary credits part of Paul Hastings' growth on its ability to pitch itself to potential clients as a “value proposition.”

Paul Hastings' transactional practice had an especially robust 2013, with its deal lawyers involved in an all-time-high 35 transactional engagements worth at least $1 billion. Those assignments included representating China's WH Group in connection with its $7.1 billion acquisition of Smithfield FoodsInc., the largest pork producer and processor in the U.S.,  and Snam SpA in its acquisition of Total SA’s gas transport and storage business in France for €2.4 billion ($3.29 billion).

The firm's Latin America, leveraged finance and intellectual property practices were also busy in 2013, Zachary says. The Latin America group represented Mexican real estate investment trust Fibra UNO in an equity offering and Group Lala, Mexico’s biggest dairy producer, in connection with its initial public offering.

Paul Hastings' litigation docket, meanwhile, included representing American Airlines Inc. in its settlement of an antitrust challenge to its merger with US Airways and successfully defending Cintas Corp. in a nine-year-long discrimination class action.

The firm handled those matters and the rest of its workload amid a slight decline in its attorney population last year. Overall attorney head count dipped 1.1 percent, or 10 lawyers, to 889. The nonequity partnership ranks grew 12.3 percent, with seven lawyers added in that category for a total of 64. The equity partnership ranks remained unchanged at 198 partners.

Despite last year's minor contraction, Zachary describes the firm as being in a growth mode: “We’re seeing this period as a good time to make investments in our intellectual property practice and global finance practice as well as our litigation and investigations practices."

This report is part of The Am Law Daily's early coverage of 2013 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 2014 issue and on AmericanLawyer.com. The Am Law Second Hundred will be published in the June issue.

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