Clifford Chance has pushed Slaughter and May out of the top five rankings for European M&A and has topped the tables for volume of work.
Clifford Chance moved up from tenth place for the same period last year to take the fifth spot, undertaking 127 of the deals announced in the first half of this year. Clifford Chance is working on deals worth $80.3bn (£56.6bn) where there is a European acquiror or target. David Childs, the firm's global head of corporate, said: "I think we have been quite surprised at the volume of deals we have been working on in many places, particularly in London, where activity levels have been very high, which wasn't what we expected. "I hope we will continue to see Clifford Chance going up the rankings. Our ambition is to be first or second in every table. It's always nice to be in the top four or five and being top in volume is great." Herbert Smith and Ashurst Morris Crisp made it to the top 10 from seventeenth and 24th respectively in the first six months of last year. Herbert Smith has capitalised on its strong financial services practice - advising on the fifth largest deal of the half for Bank of Scotland in its acquisition of Halifax Group. The firm also had a role on the third largest deal, advising one of the financial advisers to E.On in its takeover by Powergen. Herbert Smith advised on 32 deals totalling $47.7bn (£33.6bn) and Ashursts netted 63 deals worth $29.9bn (£21bn). Ashursts head of telecoms and investment banking Chris Ashworth said: "We have a large number of corporate clients and a large number of private equity clients, so that even in times when large transactions are fewer and farther between we have a substantive range of deals that come through on a regular basis." New York firm Shearman & Sterling's European M&A strength is also highlighted - the firm had a role in four of the top 10 deals.