LawFuel.com – Attorney Newswire – K&L Gates passed the $1 billion revenue mark in 2009, the firm announced today. The Pittsburgh-based firm saw gross revenue increase by 8 percent, to $1.034 billion, while profits per equity partner (PPP) also increased to $861,000, up 1 percent from $855,000 last year.
Revenue growth was driven largely by the firm’s March 2009 merger with Chicago-based Bell, Boyd & Lloyd, which added 250 lawyers and an office in San Diego. The firm also continued its overseas expansion with new offices in Frankfurt, Singapore, and Dubai.
Head count increased from 1,552 attorneys to just over 1,700, including 605 nonequity partners–the firm added 110 nonequity partners in 2008. With the growth in the total number of lawyers, revenue per lawyer dipped slightly to $610,000, down from $620,000 in 2008.
In assessing the firm’s financial performance last year, K&L chairman Peter Kalis says, “Of the top 50 firms in the world, I think relatively few will have shown growth in revenues and profits in 2008 and 2009 like we have.” Kalis, pictured right, says he is very optimistic about 2010, given a strong fourth quarter last year: “There are signs that our client community is faring better than a year ago.”
Despite the growth, K&L Gates was not immune to the effects of the downturn. The firm laid off 36 associates in March of last year and deferred 80 first-year associates until the start of 2010. Kalis stresses that he sees no similar cuts for 2010. “With the cost cutting we did, we feel pretty well-positioned and don’t see any further dramatic measures as necessary,” he says.
K&L Gates is one of the first Am Law 100 firms to report its financials for 2009. Last year 13 firms reported gross revenue of more than $1 billion.