The Am Law 100 Has Landed
The Am Law 100 for 2022 is here, and its a familiar look at the top. Five of the top 10 U.S. firms in our gross revenue ranking remained the same year on year. In order, they are Kirkland & Ellis; Latham & Watkins; DLA Piper; Baker McKenzie; and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.
For profit per equity partner, again, its that name again: Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, top of the list with $8.4 million in PEP. For the Am Law 100 as a whole, average PEP was up by 19% in 2021.
Also, take a look at Dan Packel‘s searching piece into exactly what these firms are doing with all this profit that it made in 2021. And I encourage you to also take a look at Patrick Smith‘s piece on how the Am Law 100 made record profits in 2021. He writes how, “by virtually every financial metric imaginable, the Am Law 100 delivered its best collective performance in a generation’. But warns that “not everyone is set to keep cruising over the next year”.
Keep an eye out for more Am Law 100 overage. The market’s definitive guide on the biggest law firms stateside.
Are Law Firms Really Exiting Russia?
Passions have been at a deafening high since Russia invaded Ukraine, and law firms attempted to equal that fervour by saying a) they were going to cease all Russia relationships and b) that they would “wind down” their Russian operations. Now we’re seeing what was actually meant by “winding down”.
In our piece, we bring you a rundown of what we have so far on what firms are doing. And a clear theme is emerging: Russian offices are being spun off into separate legal entities with which the international firm will maintain a working relationship. It’s a clever solution.
On the one hand you are forgoing the profit that these office once made, but on the other you can continue to service clients with Russia needs (though not in all cases). What’s most notable perhaps is that this solution does seem to be a slight departure from “exiting”, “closing”, “winding down” and “ceasing”. And it invites the question: is this the preliminary step in what might down the road become a rekindling of Russian relationships?
In Russia, at least, lawyers have been skeptical about international firms and their intentions. Take a look at our interview with two former Big Law partners who have set up their own Moscow practice to take on the West’s corporate giants. Added to this is Jack Womack‘s brilliant piece on the other hidden (commercial) reason law firms might have left Russia.
Here’s some of our other Russia-Ukraine coverage from the week:
Three Firms Seek to End Representation of Russian Banks in US Lawsuit
Eversheds Hits Back At ‘Misunderstanding’ Over Its Russia Plans
European Commission to Expand Powers of Justice Agency to Assist with Investigations of Russian War Crimes in Ukraine
Asia’s Mercurial Dealmaker
In corporate law, you have dealmakers, you have rainmakers, and then you have Julie Gao. If
you saw her name in this week’s legal headlines but it’s one unfamiliar to you, allow Asia reporter Jessica Seah to explain her significance to the Asian market, and why her move from Skadden to TikTok owner ByteDance is a big deal.
Gao, formerly head of Skadden’s China practice and an iconic figure in the U.S. listings practice in Asia, has advised on 27 successful multimillion-dollar U.S. IPOs of Chinese companies. To put that into context, 102 Chinese companies have listed in New York since 2019. And Gao took a quarter of that market share. Her 27 deals hold a total listing value of $18.5 billion, almost double the $10.1 billion raised by the other 74 issuers combined. (Perhaps an indicator of the growing distrust around Chinese law firms to provide foreign IPO advice—check out Jess’s other great story here.)
She’s a one-woman market. As Jess writes, “no one will contest that Gao is a rainmaker for Skadden”, and, however you turn it, her departure is a big blow for Skadden.