Magic circle firms top charts among leading corporates

Magic circle firms are pulling away from the rest of the pack when it comes to corporate finance work, according to a survey.

Slaughter and May, Linklaters, Freshfields, Clifford Chance and Allen & Overy were ranked one to five in the Consensus' Annual Broker Survey of more than 200 corporate finance clients.

The companies surveyed were asked to rate their three favourite firms in order of preference. The popularity ranking of each firm was then presented as a percentage.

But the survey showed a huge disparity in popularity even within the top five firms.

Slaughter and May was more than twice as favoured by corporate finance clients than Allen & Overy – scoring 19 per cent of votes in the popularity stakes in comparison with A&O's 9 per cent.

Linklaters scored a 17 per cent, Freshfields 16 per cent and Clifford Chance 11 per cent.

But Linklaters corporate finance partner, Andrew Peck, says the results of the survey were to be expected.

Peck says: “Slaughter and May for years has had by far the largest corporate client base. A&O has traditionally had the smallest corporate base. It has always had a big strength in banking and capital markets.

“The survey reflects their market shares, which shows that magic circle firms are keeping their clients satisfied.

“The resources that these five firms have are not going to make it easy for other firms to make inroads into their positions.”

But he adds: “Clifford Chance seems to be showing more strength than may have been expected in this table.

“It shows its investment is paying off.”