NEW YORK (January 5, 2009) LAWFUEL – Legal Newswire – – Incisive Media’s The American Lawyer today named Chicago’s Bartlit Beck Herman Palenchar & Scott as its 2009 “Litigation Boutique of the Year.” Focused on winning cases at trial, the firm was selected for the sheer breadth and magnitude of its success. In the last two years, its attorneys tried more than 15 cases to verdict in at least ten states, prevailing in all but three. Also in this issue, a detailed profile of Davis Polk & Wardwell explores whether what’s been bad for the nation’s economy will prove to be good for that firm. And, the magazine’s popular “Bar Talk” section looks at law firm borrowing, credit lines and leverage in light of the current economic meltdown. For these and other stories, visit www.americanlawyer.com.
Bartlit Beck is nimble, efficient, flexible, and smart. In areas as diverse as mass torts, securities, antitrust, and intellectual property, the firm’s wins have reverberated throughout the industries involved. That has brought a steady stream of institutional clients like Bayer AG, E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company, Ernst & Young, and Tyco International Ltd., and kept the firm’s lawyers where they want to be: in court.
The firm’s unique culture is built on disdain for the billable hour, unabashed reliance on technology, inverted leverage, and a commitment to homegrown talent so deep that the firm refuses to hire laterals. Its winning record has allowed Bartlit Beck to be selective: the firm turns down an estimated third of the potential cases that come its way.
The magazine also named three LBOY finalists: Gibbs & Bruns; Robbins, Russell, Englert, Orseck, Untereiner & Sauber; and Zuckerman Spaeder.
In “In the Red Zone,” writer Julie Triedman looks at Davis Polk’s recent impressive track record as a go-to firm for financial institutions in crisis, including Freddie Mac and Citigroup, while examining the bigger question of whether rescue work can replace the M&A deals that brought firm revenues to record levels in 2007. For more than a century, Davis Polk’s fortunes have been tied to its major investment banking clients. Now, some question how the firm’s past will impact its future.
This month’s “Bar Talk” takes a look at law firm finance. As banks tighten credit lines and lending conditions, law firms face an unprecedented level of scrutiny. Although traditionally considered good credit risks, firms have scrambled recently to secure new credit facilities and some have faced problems paying down existing debt. And finally, leverage—the practice of having each equity partner supported by three or more associates or income partners—was accepted as a basic tenet of law firm profitability. But now, the whole pyramid model is looking fragile and its days may be numbered.
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