Skadden New York-based M&A partner Tom Kennedy spoke for the majority of US firms when he called 2005 “a very good year”.
For Skadden, the $22bn hostile bid by steel giant Mittal for rival Arcelor was emblematic of a year that saw a return to bigticket M&A, most notably in the fourth quarter.
Skadden’s revenue hit $1.58bn in 2005, up from $1.44bn the previous year. Average profit per equity partner (PEP) rose less impressively, up 6.5 per cent, but at $1.85m per equity partner, few Skadden partners will be beating a path to the exit.
The Lawyer’s exclusive provisional results for the top 20 US firms confirm the findings in a recent report on the US legal market by Citigroup Private Bank in conjunction with Hildebrandt International.
The report found that 2005 was a good year for most firms, with increases “driven largely by a rebound in corporate and M&A practices, particularly during the fourth quarter of the year, and by more overall stability in transactional work than was the case in 2004”. The report said the return to form was “augmented by continuing strong litigation activity”.