Mixed results from Paul Hastings, Simpson Thacher at financial year end

Paul Hastings has unveiled its 2008 financial results, posting a rise in revenue and a drop in average profit for the year.


Mixed results from Paul Hastings, Simpson Thacher at financial year endPaul Hastings has unveiled its 2008 financial results, posting a slight rise in revenue and a similarly sized drop in average profit for the year.

The California-based firm’s financial results contrast sharply with those of the New York elite firm Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, which saw average profit tumble by 13.7 per cent.

Total revenue at Paul Hastings grew by 1 per cent from $980m to $986m between 1 February 2008 and 31 January 2009, the firm’s fiscal year. Average profit per equity partner (PEP) dropped 1 per cent from $1.92m in 2007 to $1.9m last year.

“I’m satisfied with our performance,” said the firm’s chairman Seth Zachary. “It was steady and consistent and is reflective both of the confidence our clients place in us and the breadth of our practice and international footprint.”

Matters handled by Paul Hastings’ international network during the year included acting for UBS on auction rate securities litigation, successful IP litigation for drugs manufacturer Eisai and advising First Gas Power Corporation on the $544m Santa Rita power project in the Philippines.

The past year was also one of expansion for Paul Hastings, most notably in Europe where the firm hired a group of seven partners and 12 associates from the London office of Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft. A dispute between the two firms arising out of the hire has since been settled.

Simpson Thacher’s revenue reduced by 6 per cent from $958m in 2007 down to $904m last year, while its PEP dropped by 13.7 per cent to $2.48m from $2.82m in 2007.

The firm’s 2008 figures come after a turbulent year in Simpson Thacher’s core practice area of private equity, with two of the firm’s main relationship clients – Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Blackstone – seeing a significant reduction in demand for legal services.

That said, Simpson Thacher did win a succession of roles related to the downturn. Last year The Lawyer reported that Simpson Thacher won a beauty parade to advise the US government on its initial bank bailout package (31 October 2008).

In September New York-based partner Lee Meyerson advised longstanding client Washington Mutual (WaMu) on the beleaguered bank’s acquisition by JPMorgan (26 September 2008).

Simpson Thacher declined to comment.