At Half-Century Mark, Munger Tolles Sees Big Jump in Profits

, The Am Law Daily

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Last year marked the 50th anniversary of Munger, Tolles & Olson's founding — and the second straight year that the Los Angeles-based firm saw a double-digit increase in its profits per partner, according to Recorder sibling publication The American Lawyer's reporting.

Munger Tolles's PPP rose 16 percent to $1.565 million in 2012 on the heels of an 11 percent uptick in 2011. The firm's gross revenues, meanwhile, grew nearly 5 percent, to $213.5 million, and its revenue per lawyer inched up 2.5 percent, to $1.23 million.

"We had a fantastic year," says managing partner Sandra Seville-Jones, who notes that the firm managed to keep expenses relatively flat compared to 2011. Munger Tolles also fared fared better in terms of collections in December than it did during the same month a year earlier, she adds.

Munger Tolles continues to represent Transocean Ltd. in connection with litigation stemming from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and is defending Bank of America and Wells Fargo in cases brought over mortgage-backed securities. The firm also helped Universal Music Group win Federal Trade Commission approval of its $1.9 billion acquisition of EMI Music from Citigroup. Elsewhere on the entertainment front, the firm won a trial ruling for client Dick Clark Productions affirming its rights to produce and distribute the Golden Globe Awards show. Notable transactional roles taken by Munger Tolles lawyers last year included advising HealthCare Partners on its $4.4 billion acquisition by dialysis provider DaVita Inc.

The firm's partnership ranks — which included 93 attorneys in 2010 — continued to shrink in 2012, dropping from 88 to 86. Among those departing the one-tier partnership: Paul Watford, who left the firm for seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The firm's total attorney head count was essentially flat, rising 2 percent, from 170 to 174.

Susan Beck is a senior writer with The American Lawyer, a Recorder affiliate.This report is part of The Am Law Daily's early coverage of 2012 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 2013 issue and on AmericanLawyer.com. The Am Law Second Hundred will be published in the June issue.

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