So now we know. After speculation about the state of the UK market and the performance of the Magic Circle big four in particular, all of the quartet – Clifford Chance, Linklaters, Freshfields and Allen & Overy – have now reported their financial results. And, frankly, they’re pretty good.
But while all four have been targeting US growth for well over a decade, it was notable in our interviews with these firms’ leaders that few went out of their way to highlight a stellar year stateside.
Linklaters managing partner Simon Davies said Europe was the “standout” region for his firm’s performance on the finance and M&A side while its recent platform expansion activities have largely been focused on Australia and South Africa.
Allen & Overy’s managing partner Wim Dejonghe pointed to “particularly strong performances” in the firm’s Germany, London, Luxembourg, Singapore and UAE offices while at the largest of the quartet Clifford Chance, Asia Pacific was the strongest performer. That said, CC has been steadily building its US arm in recent months and the Americas, which saw a 6 per cent boost for the 2013/14 financial year, now contributes £152m, 11 per cent of firm-wide revenue.
And Freshfields? The firm’s growth has been driven by an uptick in transactional volumes in Asia as well as the US but its US dispute resolution practice, in which it has invested heavily in recent years, has also seen revenues rise.
So while Wall Street may not be quaking yet, and the English are not storming the barricades, neither are they going away any time soon.
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