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Wake Up Call: Burford Capital Sees First Net Loss in Covid Year

March 30, 2022, 12:49 PM

In today’s column, Crowell had record revenues in 2021, but its profits per equity partner dove 25%; K&L Gates’ revenues jumped 15.7% to $1.2 billion; participants in a Katten Muchin junior associate retreat were hit by a Covid outbreak.

  • Leading off, Burford Capital reported a $56.42 million net loss in 2021. The litigation funder attributed the first “accounting loss” in its history to slower case progress because of the pandemic. It said its overall results for the year were excellent, reporting $1.1 billion in group-wide new commitments and $841 million in cash deployment, both up significantly from 2020. (BurfordCapital.com) (BLAW via BN)
  • Katten Muchin Rosenman said at least 19 of over 110 participants in a recent voluntary junior associate retreat in Chicago have tested positive for Covid-19. (Above The Law)
  • A New York federal appeals court agreed with a district court’s ruling that the pandemic qualifies as a natural disaster under the force majeure clause of an agreement for the sale of a painting. (Law.com)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • Washington-based Crowell & Moring’s average profits per equity partner plunged 25.1% to $1.22 million in 2021, as its equity partnership swelled 31% to 117 and it expanded in several cities. After a 18.7% jump in 2020, Crowell’s revenues rose only 0.6% for 2021, but that sufficed to reach a record $517.6 million. (American Lawyer)
  • Pittsburgh-founded K&L Gates said high demand for its diversified practices fueled a 15.7% revenues gain in 2021 to $1.2 billion. Its average PEP surged 20.1% to $1.4 million. (Legal Intelligencer) All 19 elite New York-founded firms had double-digit gains in profits per equity partner last year. With one, Wachtell, becoming the first firm to get over $8 million in PEP. (American Lawyer)
  • Lowenstein Sandler announced associate raises that match the Cravath scale for first- through third-year associates but are “black box” for everyone else. Lowenstein’s bonuses only match the market for the highest performers, this report says. (Above The Law)
  • Victims’ lawyers in the Astroworld catastrophe are fighting over who will lead in the giant case. (Billboard) Elon Musk’s lawyers cited Eminem lyrics in the Tesla CEO’s court filing in a legal fight with the SEC over his tweets. (New York Post)

Laterals, Moves, In-house

  • Morrison & Foerster recruited Arnold & Porter bankruptcy attorney Seth J. Kleinman as a partner in the firm’s business restructuring & insolvency group, working from Chicago and New York; K&L Gates hired Trilliant Networks Inc. executive, general counsel and corporate secretary Courtney Thomas as a corporate partner in Raleigh, North Carolina; Stroock & Stroock brought in intellectual property partner David Barr in New York as partner and co-chair of its patent litigation practice. He arrives after close to 27 years at Arnold & Porter; Hughes Hubbard snagged IP principal Andrew Kopsidas as a partner in Washington. He joins after 21 years at Fish & Richardson; Norton Rose Fulbright got mass tort litigator Justin VandenBout as a Houston-based partner. (NortonRoseFulbright.com)
  • Holland & Knight poached a four-lawyer Mexico City capital markets team led by partner Xavier Mangino. They arrive, with two law clerks, from DLA Piper; Holland & Knight also hired fashion attorney Danielle Garno as a partner in Miami. She arrives from Reed Smith; Sheppard Mullin grabbed Dentons corporate transactions and regulatory partner Chad Ensz as a partner in Del Mar, California; Allen & Overy hired 20-year Skadden Arps international arbitration and litigation veteran David Herlihy as a partner to split his time between London and Dublin; Polsinelli added former Smith & Wesson general counsel Dan DeChesaro in Phoenix as a shareholder in its corporate and transaction practice; Polsinelli’s Miami office hired health law attorney Rodger Hochman as counsel. He was previously senior associate general counsel at Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute; hospital system operator Providence Health & Services hired former Travelers Cos. general counsel Anna Newsom as executive vice president and chief legal officer. (PRNewswire)

To contact the correspondent on this story: Rick Mitchell in Paris at rMitchell@correspondent.bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Chris Opfer in New York at copfer@bloomberglaw.com; Darren Bowman at dbowman@bloomberglaw.com