Boosted by the merger with Bruckhaus Westrick Heller Löber in August last year, Freshfields expects its gross fees to rocket to more than £600m for the year 2000-2001.
That is more than a 50 per cent increase on last year's figure of £380m, and would put the firm second only to Clifford Chance in the turnover league.
Last year, Clifford Chance had a turnover of £585m, but firms in the magic circle are predicting increases across the board of at least 30 per cent. That would take Clifford Chance close to £800m, but the firm is expected to go much higher, with some sources claiming it will edge very close to the £1bn mark.
At the half-year, its revenue was already at £450m and its year-end target was £800m (The Lawyer, 4 December 2000).
With a 30 per cent increase, Allen & Overy (A&O) would jump from £322m to more than £420m. And Linklaters, which has historically been number two to Clifford Chance in terms of gross fees, would have to record a more than 50 per cent increase to keep its second place.
Freshfields, Linklaters and A&O all have figures that have been swelled by the addition of foreign mergers. Freshfields' German merger has taken the firm from 1,395 lawyers to more than 2,000 in this year's figures, while Linklaters' merger with alliance partner Oppenhoff & Rädler contributed to the firm adding 135 new partners. A&O has grown through mergers in the Benelux region from 245 partners last year to 390 partners now.