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US financials round up: White & Case revenues increase, K&L figures are flat, while Cadwalader partner profits drop

US financial results for 2014 continue to stream in with White & Case becoming the latest firm to reveal an increase in revenue while both K&L Gates and Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft bucked the positive trend having turned in lacklustre performances.

White & Case’s revenues increase was not as dramatic as some results this season but the firm recorded a 4% bump to $1.5bn in 2014 from $1.4bn in 2013. Revenue per lawyer at the firm also grew 5% from $760,000 to $800,000 while average profits per equity partner rose more confidently at 7% to $2m from $1.9m in 2013, giving a 36% increase over three years.

London executive partner Oliver Brettle said the firm is proud of its performance, especially over the last three years. ‘While we do not publically announce individual office or regional results, I will say that the London office once again made an important contribution, which had a very positive impact on the overall results,’ Brettle said.

K&L Gates‘ figures show that performance was generally flat for 2014 with revenues declining modestly by 1.2%, and revenues per lawyer and net income per partner also being essentially flat year over year. Turnover fell from $1,158.9m in 2013 to $1,145.4m in 2014 while revenue per lawyer remained at $587,000. The firm attributed the flat figures to currency fluctuations with the US dollar strengthening in the second half of 2014.

The firm’s net income available for all equity partners as a percentage of revenues decreased from 27.6% in 2013 to 25.6% in 2014. The firm said this was due to the slight decline in revenues in 2014 combined with higher expenses for the year.

However, figures for its London office were more positive, with revenues growing 11% to £44.96m in 2014 from £40.5m in 2013 – an increase of some 60% since 2009. Tony Griffiths, administrative partner at K&L Gates’ London office said: ‘Against the backdrop of a challenging geopolitical environment, it is hugely encouraging to report a fifth consecutive year of revenue growth for the London office. Integral to our strategy has been to provide multi-disciplinary advice and solutions for our clients, avoiding rigid departmental structures.’

Griffiths added: ‘Our focus through the previous five years and going forward has been on boardroom risk solutions, advice to alternative capital providers, and international energy, infrastructure and resources. Each of these areas involves all of our London lawyers, and has been particularly important in driving the growth in our revenues.’

Meanwhile, Cadwalader figures took a more severe hit with partner profits dropping 15.3% to $2.21m from $2.61m in 2013 as gross revenue marginally fell to $481.5m compared to 2013’s level of $481.7m. On the other hand, revenue per lawyer decreased by 3.2% to $1.07m from $1.1m.

The fall in Cadwalder’s numbers follows the appointment of managing partner Patrick Quinn at the end of January after head Jim Woolery – who was poised to become chair of the firm that same month after nearly two years as chairman – announced he is leaving the firm to help start a new investment venture.

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, on the other hand, saw positive growth with net income climbing 12.8% to $356m from $315.5m in 2013, and gross revenues increase 4.8% to $868m from $828.5m. Revenues per lawyer increased more moderately by 2.9% to $1.055m from $1.025m, as did the firm’s partner profits, which rose 2.7% to $1.885m from $1.835m. These results come after the firm pulled off one of the largest ever London acquisitions after taking nearly 30 partners from the now defunct Bingham McCutchen.

For more analysis of the surging US market see: The blessed – unheralded, Wall Street’s elite comes roaring back