By Casey Sullivan
Jan 28 (Reuters) - Law firm revenue, net income and profits
per partner all rose in 2012, according to a year-end report by
Wells Fargo released on Monday.
For 100 law firms surveyed confidentially by the bank, gross
revenue in 2012 increased by five percent. Net income rose six
percent and profits per partner rose five percent, according to
The year-end growth results are the best Wells Fargo has
reported since 2008, according to Jeff Grossman, head of the
bank's legal specialty group.
Grossman cited the fiscal cliff negotiations between the
Obama administration and the U.S. Congress over automatic tax
hikes scheduled for Jan. 1, as one possible driver of the
revenue growth. In late 2012 and early 2013, some law firm said
their mergers and acquisition, tax and trust and estates
practices received extra work in the fourth quarter because
clients were preparing for tax hikes.
An earlier survey by Wells Fargo, released in November,
showed that law firm revenue in the first three quarters of 2012
increased 3 percent over the first three quarters of 2011.
The third-quarter report also pointed out that law firm
borrowing had risen, with loans in 2012 on average a third
higher than they were in 2011. That was a sign that law firms
were increasingly relying on debt to fund their operations, the
Grossman cautioned that law firms should still look for ways
to save costs in 2013. He said that the revenue growth was
driven by a select group of top law firms.
"Top law firms are getting what little premium business
there is," Grossman said in an email.
The Wells Fargo report said that Florida, Southern
California, and regions in the Southeast, outpaced other areas
in the United States with revenue increasing by eight to 11
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