Revenues at US firm Latham & Watkins fell by up to $400m during the 2008 financial year, a drop of around 20 per cent.
The firm, which will make an announcement on its financial performance next week, made headlines at the end of 2007 when it broke the $2bn revenue barrier for the first time. The firm also made significant investments throughout the year, notably ploughing significant funds into its international network and making an unprecedented simultaneous launch of three Middle Eastern offices last February (18 February 2008).
Consequently, the US firm's financial performance for 2008 has been hotly anticipated. The firm is expected to report its 2008 results on Monday (9 February). Several sources have suggested that the fall in the firm's revenue will be in the region of $400m, taking total turnover down to $1.6bn for the past financial year.
Latham partners are also expecting a significant drop in average profits per equity partner (PEP), with provisional estimates pointing to a fall of around 14 per cent, down from $2.2m to $1.9m.
One Latham source told The Lawyer: "Last year was a record year. It's not a surprise at all that we would see such a significant drop. Considering the year we just had, we should be pretty happy with that."
Another source close to the firm said: "Latham's client base has changed dramatically in the last year. Bear Stearns and Lehman don't exist anymore."
A Latham spokesman said the numbers published today were estimates and not the official results.