Mallesons hits the top down under

Mallesons Stephen Jaques has topped a league of Australian law firms.

A survey conducted by Business Review Weekly revealed that Mallesons chalked up about A$360m (£118.8m) in fee income for the financial year to June 2001. The figure puts it A$12m (£4m) ahead of nearest rival Minter Ellison.
Mallesons' solid performance and its 16 per cent turnover increase is indicative of a strong Australian market.
Despite tight competition and client consolidation squeezing the margins of many Australian firms, every one of the top 20 in the country witnessed a growth in revenue.
The most dramatic surge was made by ninth-placed Deacons, up almost 58 per cent to A$116m (£38.3m). But even with this rapid growth, Deacons still trails some A$44m (£14.5m) behind Corrs Chambers Westgarth, which is ranked eighth. The top eight firms have thus shown their heels to the chasing pack.
The top eight itself breaks down into three distinct groups – the big four of Mallesons, Minter Ellison, Freehills and Allens Arthur Robinson are well out in front, taking in more than A$300m (£99m) per firm.
Clayton Utz and Blake Dawson Waldron are joined together in the mid-A$200m (£66m) range, substantially ahead of the firms below, but struggling to keep up with the bigger players.
Phillips Fox and Corrs Chambers Westgarth rest in a sort of limbo between those firms below them and those above. Deacons' impressive growth could turn into a disturbing trend for these firms.
Perhaps another cause for concern would be Clayton Utz's meagre 6 per cent growth. Of the top five firms, this one seems to be struggling to match the form of its rivals.
The next lowest turnover increase among the top five was evinced by Freehills, but at 12 per cent that is still double the efforts of Clayton Utz.
Although it retained its position at the top of the table, Mallesons generated a smaller rise in revenue than close competitors Minters and Allens Arthur. The latter two firms have both increased their focuses on bolstering their international presences, particularly in South East Asia.
Last month, Minters unveiled plans to incorporate affiliated offices in New Zealand and Bangkok into the Minter Ellison brand. Allens Arthur, too, hit the headlines following its best friends agreement with UK firm Slaughter and May. This new link with the UK's most profitable firm could give Allens Arthur the edge over its rivals for next year.

Australia's top 20 law firms (by turnover)
    Turnover Equity partners Salaried partners
    2000-01 A$m (£m) 1999-00 A$m (£m) Change % 30/6/01 A$m (£m) 30/6/00 A$m (£m) Change % 30/6/01 A$m (£m) 30/6/00 A$m (£m) Change %
1 Mallesons Stephen Jaques 360* (118.8) 310*(102.3) 16.1 184 (60.7) 179 (59) 2.8 18 (5.9) 16 (5.3) 12.5
2 Minter Ellison 348 (114.8) 287 (94.7) 21.3 260 (85.8) 235 (77.5) 10.6 28 (9.2) 27 (8.9) 3.7
3 Freehills 325 (107.2) 290 (95.7) 12.1 241 (79.5) 228 (75.2) 5.7 0 n/a n/a
4 Allens Arthur Robinson 320* (105.6) 265* (87.4) 20.8 182 (60) 178 (58.7) 2.2 0 0 0
5 Clayton Utz 262.3 (86.5) 248.2 (81.9) 5.7 165 (54.4) 109 (36) 51.4 21 (6.9) 7 (2.3) 200
6 Blake Dawson Waldron 260 (85.8) 240 (79.2) 8.3 169 (55.8) 155 (51.1) 9 9 (3) 5 (1.6) 80
7 Phillips Fox 165.2 (54.5) 147 (48.5) 12.4 101 (33.3) 103 (34) -1.9 71 (23.4) 47 (15.5) 51.1
8 Corrs Chambers Westgarth 160 (52.8) 146 (48.2) 9.6 84 (27.7) n/a n/a 29 (9.6) n/a n/a
9 Deacons 116 (38.3) 73.5 (24.2) 57.8 89 (29.4) 59 (19.5) 50.8 51 (16.5) 27 (8.9) 88.9
10 Baker & McKenzie 97.5 (32.2) 85 (28) 14.7 39 (12.9) 40 (13.2) -2.5 27 (8.9) 24 (7.9) 12.5
11 Gadens Lawyers 75 (24.7) 66 (21.8) 13.6 51 (16.8) 45 (14.8) 13.3 32 (10.6) 29 (9.6) 10.3
12 Hunt & Hunt 71 (23.4) 62 (20.5) 14.5 58 (19.1) 56 (18.5) 3.6 24 (7.9) 26 (8.6) -7.7
13 Middletons Moore & Bevins 66.5 (21.9) 58.5 (19.3) 13.7 44 (14.5) 39 (12.9) 12.8 17 (5.6) 19 (6.3) -10.5
14 Gilbert & Tobin 50* (16.5) 46* (15.2) 8.7 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
15 Sparke Helmore 42.7 (14) 32.5 (10.7) 31.4 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
16 Ebsworth & Ebsworth 39 (12.9) 35.3 (17.6) 10.5 25 (8.2) 22 (7.3) 13.6 16 (5.3) 20 (6.6) -20
17 Henry Davis York 36* (11.9) 30* (9.9) 20 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
18 Arnold Bloch Leibler 34* (11.2) 34* (11.2) 0* 15 (4.9) 14 (4.6) 7.1 4 (1.3) 6 (2) -33.3
19 Andersen Legal 31.7 (10.5) 28.7 (9.5) 10.5 24 (7.9) 22 (7.3) 9.1 n/a n/a n/a
20 McCullough Robertson 31.4 (10.4) 27 (8.9) 16.3 18 (5.9) 18 (5.9) 0 11 (3.6) 10 (3.3) 10
* BRW estimate
n/a: not available or not applicable

Source: Business Review Weekly