Blue-chip shares fall could gift City firms more work

City firms could stand to gain more work from their FTSE100 clients – despite the market value of the blue-chip companies being slashed during the past few months.

Figures from Hemscott have revealed that in the last quarter the market capitalisations for the top 10 legal advisers’ FTSE100 clients fell by an average of nearly 10 per cent.

Linklaters, at the top of the table for market capitalisation, saw the value of its 21 FTSE100 companies drop by more than 15 per cent.

However, Ashurst head of corporate Adrian Clark said falling share prices were not necessarily bad news for lawyers, depending on the size of the company and the size of the decline.

“You can anticipate that if it falls substantially you might expect the client to start talking about takeover defence,” he said. “I’d have thought that meant more work rather than less work.”

Out of the top 10 firms, only second-placed Herbert Smith’s clients saw their prices on the market rise, with an average increase of 7.6 per cent.

Elsewhere in the report, Slaughter and May extended its lead at the top of the table for the number of FTSE100 clients.

The firm has added ­energy company John Wood Group and newly merged Thomson Reuters to its ­roster in the past three months. With 27 of the UK’s biggest companies on its books, Slaughters provides legal advice for more than a quarter of the FTSE100.

In second place, Linklaters lost the Home Retail Group and Tate & Lyle, which fell out of the top 100 amid falling share values.

Further down the table, the loss of Alliance & ­Leicester, which dropped off the list in June, saw Allen & Overy fall two places to fifth. The firm now has 15 FTSE100 clients, ahead of Ashurst in sixth place with nine.

Of the three companies to gain entry to the FTSE100 in June, Norton Rose snapped up two through its strength in the natural resources sector.

Both mining company Ferrexpo and oil services group Petrofac listed the firm as their legal adviser.