Paul Hastings credits resurgent real estate for revenue hike

Paul Hastings has reported a 1.5 per cent increase in global revenue to $902m (£559m) for 2010, with managing partner Greg Nitzkowski citing real estate as a major driver behind the growth.

Greg Nitzkowski
Greg Nitzkowski

Profit per partner was also up, by 6.1 per cent, from $1.88m to $1.99m, while revenue per lawyer (RPL) rose by 2 per cent, from $970,000 to $991,000.

The figures are a major improvement on the firm’s performance in 2009, when global revenue slid by 10 per cent, from $986m to $889m.

“I’d say our biggest up was a surge in the real estate practice,” Nitzkowski told The Lawyer. “Two years ago that practice was affected more than any other, but it recovered well this year.
“Another big driver of growth was our ­capital markets work in Asia. We have a terrific ­market share in Hong Kong IPOs – we worked on around 14 per cent of total transactions by volume, and last year the Hong Kong IPO market was ­bigger than London and New York combined.”

There was also growth in the firm’s litigation, employment and IP teams, while the private equity and finance sectors remained steady.

Nitzkowski added that the profit rise was down to cost management initiatives ­introduced in the past two years.

“We’re managing ourselves much more tightly than before the financial crisis,” he said. “And from our RPL figures you can also see that productivity levels are up.”

Since 2007 Paul Hastings’ London ­headcount has gone up by around 40 per cent, while revenue has risen by some 33 per cent, although the firm insisted that it would not be providing a breakdown of its City revenue ­during 2010.

“Looking at the past three years, we think we’ve made remarkable progress when you consider how difficult that period’s been,” Nitzkowski said.

Meanwhile, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati posted another year of declining ­revenue, with a 1.6 per cent fall to $493m in 2010.

Profit per equity partner at the firm went up by 7 per cent, from $1.4m to $1.5m, while RPL showed a small rise of 0.4 per cent, increasing from $835,000 to $838,000.