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Wake Up Call: King & Spalding Doubles Revenues, PEP Over Decade

Feb. 10, 2020, 12:51 PM

In today’s column, three firms posted their 2019 results. Dechert had double-digit revenue growth, as did Brownstein Hyatt, which also had a strong year for lobbying; Michigan State University has finally hired a permanent top lawyer as it continues to deal with legal fallout from the Larry Nassar sex-abuse scandal.

  • Leading off, King & Spalding’s revenues last year rose 6.1% to $1.34 billion and its profits per equity partner hit $3 million for the first time, culminating a decade of steady growth in which the Atlanta-based firm doubled the yearly turnover and PEP it posted in 2009, a report said. (Daily Report)

  • Philadelphia-founded Dechert, riding strong performances of its real estate, finance, and products liability practices, posted 11.1% gross revenue gains to reach $1.14 billion in 2019, while its PEP was up 10%, to about $3 million, a report says. (American Lawyer)

  • Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck’s gross revenues grew 10.2%, to $205.4 million in 2019, on the strength of its gaming, natural resources, litigation, and middle-market M&A practices. Its $40.7 million of revenue from lobbying included $39.54 million from federal lobbying, second only to Akin Gump’s tally, says a report. (American Lawyer)

  • Coinbase Inc., a San Francisco-based cyber exchange, has been on a legal hiring binge in recent months; while, elsewhere, in-house attorneys have been leaving Circle Internet Financial Ltd., amidst a restructuring at that Boston-based blockchain payments company, which is backed by The Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (BLAW)

  • Douglas Hodge, who was once the CEO of giant bond manager Pacific Investment Management Co., was sentenced by a Boston federal judge to nine months in prison for paying $850,000 in bribes to get four of his kids into USC and Georgetown as phony soccer and tennis team recruits. That’s the longest sentence yet in the college admissions scandal. Hodge’s lawyer was Ropes & Gray partner Brien O’Connor. (Bloomberg News via BLAW)

  • Michigan State University, whose legal bill in the Larry Nassar sex abuse scandal was over $20 million as of November 2019, finally named a permanent general counsel, after going a year without one. The school last week named deputy general counsel Brian Quinn as GC and vice president for legal affairs. He’d been acting general counsel since Feb. 1, 2019. (Corporate Counsel)

  • Former Manhattan federal judge Katherine B. Forrest, now a Cravath, Swaine & Moore partner, is representing the Boston Red Sox in a proposed class action accusing the baseball team, Major League Baseball, and the Houston Astros of compromising the fairness of fantasy baseball competitions with a sign-stealing scandal that has hit the league. (New York Law Journal)

  • The U.S. Supreme Court issued its latest guidance in its effort to formalize previously unwritten rules for lawyers on its procedures. (BLAW)

  • Arizona-based litigation funder Stillwell Madison, represented by DLA Piper, agreed to arbitrate its approximately $3.4 million in fraud claims against an L.A. plaintiffs firm, and its name partner and his wife, who gained fame from reality TV show “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.” (The Recorder)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • Drugmaker Akorn Inc. has to face claims from investment funds and their advisers who say they lost millions of dollars when the company’s stock fell after compliance problems derailed a planned $4.3 billion merger with health care company Fresenius, an Illinois federal judge said. Lowenstein Sandler and others represented the two investor complaints. Cravath represented Akorn. (BLAW)

  • Lawyers in France’s national bar association voted Friday to continue their strike against the government’s proposed pension reform. The strike, now in its fifth week, is causing major court delays, according to French press reports. ( ( (

  • Former Honigman partner Richard E. Zuckerman, said to be President Donald Trump planned pick to lead the Department of Justice’s tax division, will be a good fit for the job, people who know him said. Zuckerman is currently the division’s principal deputy assistant attorney general. (BLAW)

  • Environmental law firm Beveridge & Diamond said it elected management committee member Kathy Szmuszkovicz as managing principal. She replaces Russ LaMotte, who’s had the role since 2016 and resumes his international environmental and product regulatory practice full time. The firm said principal Paula Schauwecker was elected for the new role of chief talent officer. (


  • Title insurer Fidelity National Financial Inc., advised by Willkie Farr & Gallagher, agreed to buy FGL Holdings, an annuity provider backed by Blackstone Group Inc., in a transaction valued at about $2.7 billion. (BN via BLAW)


  • Despite some big high-profile initial public offerings, the market’s broader trend has been away toward smaller cap IPOs, says Paul Hastings’ new “Going Public: U.S. IPO Report.” The report’s introduction cites a “resilient” 2019 for IPO’s, but says this year could see more risk aversion. (

Legal Actions, Decisions

  • Google was hit by a class action under Illinois biometric privacy law over its facial recognition tech. (BLAW)

  • A developer of linux security patches has to pay a blogger $260,000 in legal fees after losing its defamation case against the blogger, a California appeals court ruled. O’Melveny & Myers and Electronic Frontier Foundation represented the blogger, open-source advocate Bruce Perens, a co-founder of the Open Source movement. The court awarded the attorneys fees under California’s anti-SLAPP statute. (The Register) (

Regulators and Enforcement

  • The U.S. government, as part of a a crackdown on economic espionage by China, will ramp up on its scrutiny of researchers in academia and industry who work with Chinese institutions, federal prosecutors said. (Science Magazine)

To contact the correspondent on this story: Rick Mitchell in Paris at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rebekah Mintzer at; Darren Bowman at