Weil Had A Monster Bankruptcy Year, But Other Sections' Struggles Meant Revenue Was Flat

Weil Gotshal’s bankruptcy practice had nothing short of a monster 2009 — they handled the General Motors bankruptcy and reorganization and continue to bill huge hours to the Lehman and Washington Mutual bankruptcies. Even so, they showed just a tiny uptick in gross revenue and a small decrease in revenue per lawyer.

These end-of-year 2009 numbers say a lot of what it takes to keep a firm up and running — if certain practices struggle, others have to kill themselves to keep things afloat.

The 2009 numbers, from Am Law:

Gross revenue: up .18%, from $1,230,801,620 in 2008 to $1,233,054,282 in 2009

Revenue per lawyer: down 1.64% from $1,034,287 in 2008 to $1,017,372 in 2009

Weil is a firm “with diverse practice groups,” firm executive partner Barry Wolf told Am Law. “And, while BFR [business finance & restructuring] is a phenomenal¬†practice of ours and it drives a lot, it’s 100 lawyers out of 1,250, so we clearly feel the impact in certain of our other practices.”¬†

Large firm like to be large just for this reason — when corporate groups are struggling, litigation and bankruptcy are especially active. This economic collapse was a little different, in that it involved huge players who are not usually as impacted by a downturn and, for reasons everyone is still trying to pinpoint exactly, it wasn’t a huge litigation boom like most downturns are.

Wolf’s comments to Am Law also highlighted another issue firms deal with when trying to keep their heads above water — making sure they get paid. Weil has not yet collected some of those big, high-profile bankruptcy dollars. 2009 might be over, but they are still hoping to see some money out of it.

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