In 2021, Latham and Watkins became the first law firm ever to bring in more than $5 billion in yearly revenue. The firm saw a 26.7% increase in revenue as compared to 2020, increasing its total revenue to $5.49 billion. Profit-per-equity-partner (PEP) grew at a similar rate, 26.2%, as it hit $5.71 million, up almost $1.2 million from the year prior.
Latham had a particularly strong year in the realm of mergers and acquisitions (M&A). The firm worked on 943 M&A deals worth $604 billion, bringing in its fair share of the $5.9 trillion worth of global M&A deals completed last year. Latham even surpassed its rival, Kirkland and Ellis, in M&A revenue, as the deals on which Kirkland advised totaled $572 billion in revenue.
Other top U.S. law firms also did well in 2021. White and Case saw a 20% rise in revenue, as it brought in $2.87 billion, while Sidley Austin experienced a 13.5% rise in revenue, taking in $2.795 billion. Still, Latham and Watkins almost doubled the revenue streams of these competing firms, though.
Latham’s Chair and Managing Partner, Rich Trobman, attributes the firm’s success to combining its worldwide resources and its knowledge across sectors to offer superior service to its clients. Latham’s Chief Operating Officer, LeeAnn Black, ascribes the firm’s record-breaking year to its “culture of teamwork” and “dedication to client service,” according to The Global Legal Post.
Also, the amount and quality of new talent that Latham brought onto its team likely contributed to its success in 2021. Latham hired more than 200 lawyers last year. These new attorneys included a three-partner team whose members came from DLA Piper and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich and Rosati and were tasked with running Latham’s new Austin, Texas office. The hires also included two M&A partners formerly of Baker McKenzie as well as Ian Conner, former Director of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Competition, as a partner in the firm’s litigation and trial department in its Washington, D.C. offices.
As Latham grew, revenue per lawyer increased by 17.7% to $1.78 million. The result of this exponential growth was a record-breaking year for the firm, which left many of its competitors in the dust.