IN-DEPTH RESEARCH REPORT
on K&L Gates LLP
- - Financial Information
- - Compensation
- - Billing Rates
- - Lateral Partner Moves
- - Pro bono
- - Key Contacts
- Designation: National
- Head Count: 1,720
- Gross Revenues: $1,060,500,000
- Revenue Per Lawyer: $615,000
- Profits Per Partner: $900,000
- Year Over Year Change: 1
One has to feel for an historian researching the roots of K&L Gates. The firm has had more mergers than Larry King has had marriages. Luckily, its unions have worked out better: K&L ranked sixteenth on the 2011 Am Law 100 list with just over $1 billion in revenue. It has also proved to be the most recessionproof of the countrys big firms, ranking first on The American Lawyers Recession Performance Index, which measured growthor lack thereofbetween 2007 and 2009. While many of its peers took hits to the pocketbook, K&L Gates saw its revenue increase at a compound annual growth rate of 17 percent.
The firmwhich bolted into the upper reaches of The Am Law 100 when a merger between Pittsburghs Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Nicholson Graham and Seattles Preston Gates & Ellis was approved in December 2006numbers some 1,800 lawyers (including nearly 300 equity partners), and is organized into six core practice areas: corporate and transactional, financial services, intellectual property, litigation and dispute resolution, real estate, and policy and regulatory. But its business model is what truly sets it apart.
There is the growthviamerger strategy, of course, but also the firms legendary aversion to debt. K&L finances its operations solely through partner capital contributionsand insists that any firm it acquires pay off its debt.
Those capital contributions can be substantial, particularly given the firms comparatively low average partner compensation (129th on The American Lawyers 2011 survey). Revenue per lawyer and profits per partner are also middling (coming in at 129th and ninetythird, respectively, on the 2011 list). Along with its bigcity offices, K&L also operates in secondary markets like Anchorage and Fort Worth, where billing rates are lower.
Its probably not a business model thats everyones cup of tea, says K&Ls chairman and global managing partner, Peter Kalis. [But] a lot of those same cities that pull down the average [revenue per lawyer] also generate a lot of very substantial work for the large cities. Maybe too much work. Associate satisfaction is low compared to other large firms, with K&L turning in a 125th place finish on The American Lawyers 2010 Midlevel Associates Survey and a 105th place finish in 2011.
The firm has also suffered some highprofile embarrassments. In 2009 it was dumped from Microsoft Corporations preferred provider listeven though the Gates in its name refers to retired partner William H. Gates, Sr., father of Microsofts founder. And in August 2011, a former lawyer in K&Ls Hong Kong office admitted to stealing money from client accounts to pay his gambling debts (ironically, he was a member of the firms betting and gaming practice). Given K&Ls track record, he should have bet on the firm, instead.
Updated as of 1/1/12
|Survey||Rank||Year Over Year Change||Description|
|Am Law 100||18||1||Gross revenue|
|Am Law 200||18||1||Gross revenue|
|NLJ 250||8||no change||Lawyer head count|
|The A-List||NR||N/A||Overall excellence|
|Pro Bono Scorecard||134||10||Pro-bono commitment|
|Diversity Scorecard||115||6||Minority head count|
|Midlevel Associates Survey||105||no change||Job satisfaction|
|Summer Associates Survey||51||6||Summer programs|
In the News
: Texas Lawyer : May 6, 2013
: The National Law Journal : May 6, 2013
On our second annual Intellectual Property Hot List, you'll find 20 law firms that have demonstrated creative, formidable talent in litigation, patent prosecution and deal-making.
Leigh Jones : The National Law Journal : May 6, 2013
: The National Law Journal : May 6, 2013
Jeffrey Held joins Day Pitney's real estate, environmental and land use department as partner in the New York office. Plus more law firm movers in this week's column.
Diane Jeantet : The Am Law Daily : May 3, 2013
Littler Mendelson hires another batch of attorneys from Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart; Kaye Scholer adds a former New York State Supreme Court justice to its litigation practice; and Davis Wright Tremaine picks up three attorneys. The Churn is constant. Please send all announcements to email@example.com.
Steven J. Harper : The Am Law Daily : May 3, 2013
Average profits per partner has become a guiding metric among large law firms. But as a valid measure of anything that matters—financially or otherwise—it is increasingly irrelevant.
Amanda Bronstad : The American Lawyer : May 1, 2013
Last year, IP litigation verdicts were significantly more valuable than verdicts in other litigation categories.
: The National Law Journal : May 1, 2013
Michael Faber joins Cooley's national tax practice in the New York office. Plus more law firm movers in this week's column.
Elliott Hurwitt : Corporate Counsel : May 1, 2013
: The National Law Journal : April 29, 2013
John Cherundolo joins Hiscock & Barclay's torts and products liability practice as of counsel. Plus more law firm movers in this week's column.
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