UK top 200 ranking: 2
Clifford Chance posted 7 per cent increases in both revenue and average profit per equity partner (PEP) in 2011–12. Turnover rose from £1.219bn in 2010–11 to £1.303bn in 2011–12, increasing its lead over magic circle rival Linklaters. However PEP still lags behind the leaders, at £1.078m compared with Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s £1.229m and Linklaters’ £1.243m.
The firm’s global revenue breakdown is telling. Clifford Chance, which launched in Casablanca in 2011 and has received its licence to open in Seoul, is one of the market’s best examples of the way being in as many locations as possible can help. Its Asia Pacific revenue grew by 28 per cent, to £185m, with the firm saying it still aims to hit its target of £250m turnover in the region by 2014. This rise came on the back of Australian mergers in 2011, with Chang Pistilli & Simmons in Sydney and Cochrane Lishman Carson Luscombe in Perth.
UK turnover rose 3 per cent, from £430m to £443m, while Continental Europe income was up by 5 per cent to £492m and the Middle East was up by 6 per cent to around £38m.
2012 also saw the firm rejig its partnership council, with Dubai banking partner Robin Abraham and Italy banking partner Giuseppe De Palma replacing Thomas Schulte and Jeroen Koster, from New York and Amsterdam respectively. The next reshuffle is planned for the spring.
The firm is tight-lipped about how different practices’ revenues are broken down, but confirmed that 32 per cent of its partners are in corporate; 25 per cent in finance; 14 per cent in each of litigation and capital markets; 9 per cent in the combined group of tax, pensions and employment; and 6 per cent in property.
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Last week’s news that Clifford Chance global head of private equity David Walker is leaving to join Latham & Watkins in London marks yet another major departure from the magic circle firm’s practice, following six previous key partner exits from the firm’s funds, tax or buyouts teams since 2009.
Of all the magic circle firms Allen & Overy (A&O) is probably the most transparent when it comes to reporting figures. It was the first of the group to become an LLP under senior partner Guy Beringer, an ardent advocate of transparency.
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Overview10 Upper Bank Street
Turnover (£m): 1,303
Total lawyers: 2,518