The increase exceeded the expectations of most analysts, with record revenues of $4.5 billion also announced, up 23 per cent from last year.
Commenting on the success, Lehman's chairman and chief executive Richard S Fuld Jr credited his firm's staff.
"Our record performance is the result of our client-focused strategy and our continued investment in strategic areas that enable us to deliver the best capabilities, intellectual capital and solutions to our clients," he said.
"As always, our success is a tribute to how well our people continue to work together across the Firm to deliver superior value to our clients and shareholders."
Lehman is the fourth largest US-based securities firm by market value, and has been working hard in recent years to catch up with its Wall Street rivals.