The Am Law 100, the Early Numbers: Chevron Work Gives Gibson Dunn a Boost
Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher reported gains across key financial metrics in 2013. The firm enjoyed its biggest bump in gross revenue, which rose 7.4 percent, to $1.386 billion, according to The American Lawyer's reporting.
Gibson Dunn's profits per partner and revenue per lawyer increased more modestly, with the former climbing 4.8 percent, to $2.948 million, and the latter edging up 1 percent, to $1.202 million. As with the gross revenue figure, both sums represent new records for the firm.
Says Gibson Dunn managing partner Kenneth Doran: “In what was clearly another challenging year for the industry, I’m very pleased that we completed another record year in terms of revenue, revenue per lawyer and profits per partner.” In explaining the results, Doran highlighted what he describes as the firm’s diverse practice strengths. “We are not overly invested in any single client, industry, geography or practice area, and that has served us well,” he says.
As in other recent years, Gibson Dunn's relationship with Chevron Corp. served it well in 2013. Lawyers from the firm remained busy representing the energy giant in an array of legal matters stemming from the multibillion-dollar judgment that held Chevron liable for the toxic contamination of a section of Ecuador's rainforest. Perhaps the most prominent Chevron-related matter Gibson Dunn handled last year was the civil RICO complaint the company brought against the Ecuadorean plaintiffs in federal district court in Manhattan in an effort to upend the mammoth judgment.
Elsewhere, the firm achieved noteworthy victories for a pair of clients in cases decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. In one, the court backed Gibson Dunn client Standard Fire Insurance Co. by embracing an interpretation of the Class Action Fairness Act that restricts the ability of plaintiffs to forgo federal court in favor of state court jurisdiction. In the other, the firm persuaded a majority of the justices to decertify a class action against Comcast Corp. by challenging expert testimony regarding whether the company had artificially inflated the rates it charged some of its Philadelphia-area cable subscribers.
Gibson Dunn also represented the Bahrain-based private equity firm Arcapita, which has more than $2.7 billion in assets under management, in a Chapter 11 restructuring.
Supporting Doran’s point about Gibson Dunn’s breadth, the firm handled a number of notable transactional matters in 2013. Those assignments included: representing Vivendi SA in the $8.2 billion sale of its interests in Activision Blizzard Inc.; MidAmerican Energy Holding Co. in connection with its $10.5 billion acquisition of NV Energy Inc.; and Tenet Healthcare Corp. in its purchase of Vanguard Health Systems for $4.3 billion.
The early part of 2014 has seen the firm land more high-profile assignments. In one, a Gibson Dunn team led by litigation cochair Randy Mastro was hired last month by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to assist with an internal review of the circumstances surrounding last fall's controversial closing of traffic lanes leading to the George Washington Bridge. According to a statement issued by Christie's office at the time, the firm will also “review best practices for office operations and information flow, and assist with document retention and production.”
Gibson Dunn’s attorney population grew slightly in 2013, with the lawyer head count increasing 6.3 percent, to 1,154. The equity partner ranks added nine lawyers, a 3.2 percent increase, to reach 290. The biggest percentage increase came in the nonequity ranks, which climbed 13.2 percent, from 38 partners to 43.
The new arrivals included ex–federal prosecutor Scott Hammond, who joined the firm as a partner; former Weil, Gotshal & Manges M&A partner R. Jay Tabor, who joined the firm as a partner in Dallas; and London-based international arbitration partner Penny Madden, who joined from Skadden, Arps, Slate Meagher, & Flom. Additionally, former U.S. Trade Representative and onetime Dallas mayor Ron Kirk joined Gibson Dunn as senior of counsel.
With regard to the firm’s success landing highly sought-after lateral partners, Doran says, “Our focus on quality, culture and client services not only resonates with our clients but makes us particularly attractive to lawyers seeking to join a new firm.”
This report is part of The Am Law Daily's early coverage of 2013 financial results of The Am Law 100/200. Final rankings and full results for The Am Law 100 will be published in The American Lawyer's May 2014 issue and on AmericanLawyer.com. The Am Law Second Hundred will be published in the June issue.