Willkie Farr revenues, profits up 20 per cent

Willkie Farr & Gallagher today (Tuesday, 29 January) posted double digit increases in revenue and profits for the second year in a row.

The New York firm posted a 20 per cent rise in fee income, from £252.6m ($502.3m) to £303.2m ($602.9m). It also registered a significant increase in its bottom line, with average profit per equity partner (PEP) rising 10 per cent from £1.02m ($2.03m) to £1.12m ($2.23m).

The increases follow double digit rises in 2006 that saw Willkie’s PEP break through the $2m barrier for the first time.

Willkie’s chairman Jack Nusbaum said the performance was strong across the board. “It really was, as it would have to be when you have these kinds of results,” Nusbaum added.

Pressed, Nusbaum said Willkie’s litigation and investigations team, which includes a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act group in Washington was particularly busy while corporate continued to be strong.

“Europe was generally very good but when you are involved in a deal like ABN, that is always going to help,” said Nusbaum. Willkie partner Greg Astrachan led the firm’s team last year representing Fortis on the £50.2bn acquisition of ABN Amro by a Royal Bank of Scotland-led consortium.

Willkie’s US private equity practice, which counts Warburg Pincus, Colony Capital and Fortress among its key clients, also had a solid year. Nusbaum highlighted the battle for Topps Corporation as not the largest but one of the more interesting deals of the year.

Topps was ultimately sold to the Michael Eisner and Madison Dearborn-controlled Tornante for £193.8m ($385.4m), with Willkie partner Steve Gartner leading the firm’s team on the Topps side of the table.

Elsewhere Nusbaum said Willkie’s asset management group, which includes the five-partner team hired from Shearman & Sterling in February 2006 that featured Washington partner Barry Barbash, fully kicked in. It acts primarily for mutual funds and now counts seven of the 10 largest in the US as clients.