White & Case posts 15 per cent rise in average profits for 2012

White & Case has posted a 15 per cent increase in average profit per equity partner (PEP) for the 2012 financial year.

The double-digit rise in profit, which takes White & Case’s PEP to $1.7m, comes on the back of a 4 per cent increase in global revenue from $1.33bn in 2011 to $1.383bn. Revenue per lawyer also rose by 4 per cent, to $728,000, while firm-wide headcount remained broadly static.

In a statement, White & Case chairman Hugh Verrier said: “Our 2012 financial performance is the result of the investments we’ve made in the firm, in line with our global strategy. We saw solid results across practices and regions, which comes from our focus on meeting the needs of our clients across markets.”

Last year the firm made a number of hires, notably Dewey & LeBoeuf corporate star Mort Pierce, who joined as part of an eight-partner group (3 May 2012).

Other hires include real estate partner James Dodsworth, who joined from Mayer Brown last January; Freehills partner John Tivey, who joined in June in Singapore to lead the firm’s global mining and metals industry group from Asia; and M&A partner Dan Dufner, who rejoined the firm in New York from Linklaters.

According to the firm, its financial performance in London matched its global increase. Although White & Case did not provide individual office data, a revenue rise of 4 per cent rise would take City turnover to $199m.

London executive partner Oliver Brettle said London headcount had also been in line with the global trend of flat growth, adding that this had been a factor in the firm’s strong profits growth.

“We’ve kept headcount flat while growing revenues and in a law firm, where so much of costs is your people, that feeds very quickly through to the bottom line,” Brettle said. “Also more of our work is cross-border and those revenues tend to drive profitability.”