White & Case revenue nears $3bn as PEP jumps 12.7%

Top 10 US firm reverses 2022’s revenue and profit falls despite subdued global M&A market
WASHINGTON - FEBRUARY 26, 2020: WHITE & CASE LLP sign at entrance to law firm

White & Case's office in Washington DC DCStockPhotography; Shutterstock

Revenue at top 10 US firm White & Case rose 4.3% to $2.95bn in 2023 fuelling a 12.7% increase in profit-per-equity partner (PEP), which climbed back up to $3.16m after a sharp fall in 2022.

The results represent a return to growth at the New York-based firm after turnover dipped 1.5% to $2.83bn in the previous year with PEP down by 20% to $2.8m. Those results followed a barnstorming performance in 2021 driven in part by a record deals market.  

In London, where White & Case has more than 400 lawyers, the firm brought in revenue of $444m, marginally down on its record UK revenue of $451m last year and in line with the office’s turnover in 2021.  

White & Case achieved those results in spite of global M&A plummeting to a 10-year low of $2.9trn in 2023 as ongoing interest rate increases, persistently high inflation rates and the threat of recession led to a more risk-averse position with buyers and lenders. The firm maintained its place among the top 10 global legal advisors by deal value, though it fell from sixth place in 2022 to ninth after working on deals worth $229.4bn.  

Net income, meanwhile, jumped by just over 9% to $1.19bn and, after falling 7% in 2022, revenue per lawyer was up by 6.9% to $1.16m.  

The firm added 46 new partners at the start of last year in a promotion round that saw women slightly outnumber men and the M&A team welcome 18 new partners, the most of any practice group.  

Over the course of the year 36 lateral hires including Travers Smith tax partner Jessica Kemp and Kirkland & Ellis competition partner Michael Engel in London helped boost White & Case’s overall partner count by 1.6% to 689, though the total number of lawyers dropped by 2.2% to 2,616 and the number of equity partners fell by just over 3% to 378.

That contributed to expenses remaining virtually static at $1.53bn after a sharp rise of 9% in 2022, partly due to a 6% rise in total lawyers at the firm.

The ongoing drip feed of US law firm results for the 2023 calendar year has painted a picture of revenue and profit growth following 2022’s mixed results, which reflected firms’ exposure to different markets and sectors.  

With a presence in 30 countries, White & Case’s results were bettered – in terms of the rate of growth – by Hogan Lovells, another top 10 US firm with a large international network. The transatlantic firm also reversed revenue and profit dips in 2022 to post a 10.3% turnover increase to $2.68bn while PEP jumped by 20.3% to hit $2.74m.  

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