Debevoise posts record financials as revenue hits $756.9m

Debevoise & Plimpton’s global revenue grew by 6.5 per cent from $710.3m to $756.9m in 2015, a record level of fee income for the New York-headquartered elite firm.

Net profit stood at $351.4m, a margin of 46 per cent, while average profit per equity partner (PEP) is now $2.62m following a rise last year of 10 per cent. This continues the growth trend for PEP at Debevoise in recent years, with the metric having risen from $2.31m in 2013 to $2.38m in 2014.

Debevoise presiding partner Michael Blair said that the outstanding performers in the firm’s network last year had been London, Asia and Washington, with the UK in particular standing out.

“Each area of our disputes practice in London was extremely busy while in corporate, private equity and related finance were the biggest drivers,” added Blair. “Globally it was a record-setting year for the marketplace in terms of M&A and we had our share of that.”

Blair said that while he was clearly happy with the 2015 performance he was also encouraged by the longer-term view.

“Candidly we’re very happy with the performance over the last three years, during which period our average profits have gone up by 27 per cent,” said Blair.

Globally the firm’s partnership stayed flat at 134 partners in 2015 while the total lawyer numbers stood at 615. Debevoise added four partners laterally in 2015 and promoted six through the ranks, two of whom were in London.

Overall London partner headcount fell last year from 19 to 16.46 on an FTE basis, although the total number of lawyers in the City rose from 87 to 91.4. The majority of those, 78.47, are English qualified lawyers.

Headline matters in the firm’s London office during 2014 include acting for Park Square Capital on its $2.4bn senior debt programme Credit Opps II, a deal led by partner Geoffrey Kittredge.

A London team led by partners Kevin Lloyd and Richard Lawton are also continuing to represent BAT Industries on one of the longest running and widest ranging series of litigations in its history relating to the clean-up of the Fox River in Wisconsin and the Kalamazoo River in Michigan.