Pillsbury posts solid results for 2012 with both PEP and revenue rising

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman has posted a 10 per cent increase in average profit per equity partner (PEP) for the 2012 financial year along with a near 7 per cent growth in revenue.

Jim Rishwain
Jim Rishwain

The US firm, among the first to unveil its results so far this year, posted a PEP of $1.1m, while average profit per partner rose by 9.7 per cent from $770,000 to $845,000.

Total revenue at Pillsbury rose from $526.5m to $561m while revenue per lawyer was also up, by 7.8 per cent to $920,000.

Firm chairman Jim Rishwain said Pillsbury’s energy practice had been one of the key drivers of the firm’s strong financial results, “not just oil and gas but right across lines of fuel”.

Major deals in the energy sector last year for Pillsbury included representing Tesoro in the $2.5bn purchase of BP’s Southern California refinery.

Rishwain added that the firm’s London office was a major part of its energy sector focus, underlined by a number of hires during the year. They include Jim Simpson, the former head of Dewey & LeBoeuf’s project finance and infrastructure practice.

Global outsourcing is also a “targeted growth area” for Pillsbury’s London office, added Rishwain, highlighted by the hire of Mike Pierides from Pinsent Masons, one of 17 new partners Pillsbury added during the year.

Rishwain stressed that the rise in PEP was not the result of a change in the proportions of equity to non-equity partners.

“It has nothing to do with shifting equity partners to non-equity partners,” he said. “The difference for us last year was the shift in focus to key industry sectors.”

Among the most significant developments on the operational side of the business was the opening of Pillsbury’s professional services facility in Nashville in January. Rishwain said headcount in the back office centre had gone “from zero to 175” during the course of the year.

“And we’ll continue to grow it,” added Rishwain. “As we aspire to be one of the leading global firms Nashville will be fundamental to that.”

Earlier this month it is understood that merger discussions between Pillsbury and Washington firm Dickstein Shapiro came to an end as a result of conflicts of interest. The firm is also thought to have entered merger talks with US firm Fulbright & Jaworski, now set to merge with Norton Rose.

Rishwain did not comment, other than to say,:“We talk to people all the time.”