US firms are preparing their partners for sinking revenues as they take stock of their financial progress at the half-year stage.
As reported by The Lawyer (24 March), US firms had their best year ever in 2007, with the top 50 firms generating a collective revenue of $46.8bn (£23.4bn).
Business has been far harder since the start of the year, with Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom managing partner Bob Sheehan warning the partnership in January to expect a 10-20 per cent decrease in full-year finances. While he said the year is likely to be better than expected, Sheehan refused to confirm whether revenues were currently up or down.
The picture is similar at other firms. A Latham & Watkins source projected a dip in income for the first half of 2008, while Sullivan & Cromwell is preparing itself for a 5 per cent drop in turnover at the year-end.
Shearman & Sterling London managing partner Anthony Ward said the firm’s revenue would be flat at the half-year stage, while Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton and Weil Gotshal & Manges are anticipating growths of 3 and 5 per cent respectively.