Post-merger Edwards Wildman posts revenue rise for 2011

Edwards Wildman Palmer has posted its first post-merger financial results, revealing an 18 per cent increase in total revenue from $297.9m to $352.7m in 2011.

Laurence Harris
Laurence Harris

Average profit per equity partner at the US firm remained flat last year, however, as a result of merger integration costs, according to deputy managing partner Laurence Harris.

In contrast, revenue per lawyer (RPL) across the firm rose by 2.5 per cent from $587,679 to $602,856.

Edwards Wildman Palmer was formed on 1 October last year by the merger of Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge and 150-lawyer Chicago firm Wildman Harrold Allen & Dixon (15 August 2011). Earlier last year Edwards Angell also merged with Washington DC telecoms boutique Fleischman and Harding.

At the London end of the business, 2011 saw a string of laterals join the firm, further adding to the top line. UK revenue stood at £25m in 2011, up 35 per cent from £18.5m in 2010.

“The growth in London was due to a combination of two things,” said Harris. “We hired a lot of partners and we’ve generally seen all of our practice areas get a lot busier.”

He added that the fact that UK RPL had risen from £275,000 to £306,000 showed that the revenue increase was not simply down to the firm adding new headcount but also reflected growth in new and better quality business.

Harris said that with the addition of new lawyers over the past two years revenues in the firm’s London office, which now has around 80 lawyers and 34 partners, were approximately evenly split between insurance, commercial litigation, IP and transactional.

Harris pointed to acquisitions for Citibank handled by partner David Ramm as one of the drivers of the London office’s transactional practice. He also highlighted the IP team’s work for clients such as Apple, Master Card and Elizabeth Arden.

On the litigation side Edwards Wildman partner Kevin Perry handled major arbitrations for Tata Steel, while Harris is currently leading a major asset recovery project in the Turks & Caicos islands along with partner James Maton.