West Coast-based US firm Heller Ehrman has followed New York’s Cadwalder Wickersham & Taft as the second US firm to record a drop in revenues and profit in 2007.
Heller’s turnover dipped 2 per cent to $491m during the last financial year while average profit per equity partner dropped slightly from $1.035m to $1m.
Heller chairman Matt Larrabee said: “More than 50 per cent of our practice is litigation and we had a run of eight or nine settlements in 45 days during the first quarter. In contrast to many other US firms, we have bounced back and the fourth quarter was our strongest.”
The firm also made some big investments during the last year. It opened its London office in March with a raid on WilmerHale and it is opening in Shanghai later this month.
Larrabee said his strategic focus for 2008 was to fill out the London and Asian platforms and to make sure the UK and Asian offices are fully integrated. At the moment, there is a regular deal flow between West Coast US and Asia, and between New York and London but not between Asia and Europe.
The firm’s key practices are corporate (with a strong focus on technology companies), real estate, IP and antitrust.