Legal Business Blogs

New York slowdown: Weil Gotshal revenue flat again as Davis Polk’s strong run comes to an end

New York elite firms Weil, Gotshal & Manges and Davis Polk & Wardwell struggled to achieve meaningful growth last year, with Weil’s haul of $1.16bn in 2015 still behind what the firm generated in 2011.

Similarly, growth at Davis Polk stuttered in 2015 after notching double-digit growth in 2014 to break the $1bn barrier. Impacted by the drop-off in financial crisis-related litigation and a cooling in the capital markets space at the back-end of 2015 following the stock market turmoil in China, revenue dipped slightly to $1.07bn.

This equates to a $20m fall in revenue, ending a rapid period of growth for Davis Polk that saw it increase revenue by 27% between 2009 and 2014.

New York rival Weil posted a 1% rise in revenue to $1.16bn in 2015, continuing a period of slow growth. While last year saw a marked increase in activity levels within its cornerstone bankruptcy practice, turnover at the firm is down 5% over the past five years, having generated $1.23bn in 2011.

The number of lawyers at Weil, which laid off more than 150 people in 2013, shrunk for the third consecutive year to 1,063 in 2015. A reduction in the number of equity partners at the firm also helped to push up profitability, with profits per equity partner (PEP) up by 5% to $2.52m.

PEP at Davis Polk, meanwhile, was 1% up on 2014 to $3.33m last year.

Other US firms to post results this reporting season include White & Case, which also reported flat revenues up 1% to $1.524bn, while Cooley’s financials for 2015 show revenue has risen 14% to $912m. Hogan Lovells continues to post modest financial growth as its results showed revenue for the calendar year increased by 2.3% to $1.82bn.