Clifford Chance partners are predicting a record financial year for 2005-06 as revenue for the first six months looks set to top £500m and average profitability rockets by at least 20 per cent.
As The Lawyer went to press, the numbers were not yet formalised. However, the leap in revenue to £500m represents a 10 per cent increase on the previous year's performance and keeps the firm on track to beat its record year in 2001.
London is thought to represent just under half of the total revenue at the six-month stage, with an increase of nearly 20 per cent.
The half-year results are the strongest evidence yet of the magic circle firm's recovery. While the £500m mark represents a psychologically important milestone, Clifford Chance's profits are poised to shoot up to more than £8,500 per unit this year, meaning that plateau partners will be paid more than £850,000.
Such a performance could mark the end of a difficult period for Clifford Chance. In 2004 plateau partners earned £630,000 and in 2005 £710,000. An increase to in excess of £850,000 would put the firm on a par with Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer's plateau partners last year.
The return to financial form was targeted by chief operating officer David Childs two years ago, when he put in place an aggressive strategy to hike profit, which included reaching £850,000 for plateau partners in 2004-05.
Childs said: "While it's too early to give precise figures, if the current levels of activity continue we expect this to be a good year for the firm."