Dechert Grows Revenue 6.6 Percent, PPP 2.4 Percent
The financial services team had a strong 2013 thanks to significant increases in regulation as well as an increase in the amount of money being managed in the markets, O'Donnell said. He said the IP litigation practice saw a rise in work that he expected many firms with that practice experienced in 2013. Dechert, in particular, he said, was helped by its focus on life sciences and the "significant spillover effects" for IP litigation created by the firm's biotechnology clients.
Dechert had an "extremely active" deal practice in 2013, handling a number of billion-dollar-plus deals. But the pure M&A practice was about flat compared to 2012. O'Donnell said the fourth quarter of 2013 wasn't nearly as strong as the fourth quarter of 2012, in which the deal market exploded in advance of changes to the country's tax structure. Dechert did experience a boost in its capital markets practice, handling a number of registrations and IPOs.
Last year's corporate work got a boost from the firm's private equity clients, many of which saw funds raised in 2006 and 2007 move out of their investment periods in 2013. O'Donnell said those clients were looking to sell off companies and raise new funds last year.
Deal pricing is still viewed as being relatively high, however, O'Donnell said, causing some investor funds to sit on the sidelines last year. He said 2014 brings with it a sense from economists that the economic recovery has taken hold and the market is more sound. He said the beginning of 2014 is "going gangbusters" in terms of M&A and financing activity.
Overall, corporate work accounted for 50.6 percent of the firm's revenue in 2013.
Another practice that had a "banner" year for Dechert was its antitrust group, O'Donnell said. The team spent lots of man-hours on four antitrust reviews in 2013: the US Airways merger with American Airlines, the merger of OfficeMax and Office Depot, Georgia-Pacific's acquisition of Buckeye Technologies and transactions for CVS Caremark.
O'Donnell said he expected the firm's bankruptcy practice to be down by quite a bit, but said it was flat year over year.
On the litigation front, O'Donnell pointed to a number of victories for clients, including a win in California of a $100 million asbestos case against client Union Carbide and an appeal victory in a $10 million case against client DHL that resolved issues that would have had a much higher dollar value for the company going forward.
Dechert is in the middle of its representation of BNY Mellon in the $8.5 billion Countrywide/Bank of America litigation. The white-collar defense practice remains strong, with the client roster including Ezra Merkin and Jon Corzine, O'Donnell said. Dechert is handling IP litigation for Intellectual Ventures in its quest for more than $1 billion in royalties against major telecommunications companies, he said.
He also noted that the firm's international arbitration practice remains very strong, particularly in Latin America, where Dechert's energy practice is also robust.