Linklaters fails to overtake Clifford Chance with £1.29bn turnover

<a class=Linklaters fails to overtake Clifford Chance with £1.29bn turnover” />Linklaters has posted an increase in turnover of 15.3 per cent to £1.29bn, retaining its position behind Clifford Chance as the UK’s second largest firm in turnover terms.

Linklaters managing partner, Simon Davies (pictured), said he was satisfied with what he called a robust performance, adding that the firm was reaping the benefit from past investment in its global network.

“These are challenging times and we have seen a decline in major deal activity in the second half of the financial year,” said Davies. “It will be critical for our partners to stay close to clients and, as the market changes, to adapt to that market.”

The firm’s average profit per fully-entitled equity partner rose 11.3 per cent to £1.44m from £1.29m in 2006-07. Several partners in jurisdictions such as Germany operate on reduced equity entitlement, where the value of a point is worth a fraction of a point in London.

Last year as a result The Lawyer’s UK 200 reported a PEP for all equity partners of £1.15m.

The average profit figure for all partners, including those on salaries, has risen by 12.4 per cent to £1.16m. The firm’s pre-tax profit increased by 15.1 per cent to £564m.

Top partners at the firm will earn £1.81m, up 11.1 per cent from last year’s £1.62m. First-year full equity partners will receive £725,000 up 12.1 per cent from £647,000.

Davies refused to comment on Linklaters’ relationship with JPMorgan after the financial institution axed the magic circle firm from its panel. It is understood that JPMorgan generated a quarter of the fees made in the firm’s London finance practice.

“I can’t comment on individual relationships but it [the JPMorgan relationship] needs to be seen in terms of other work,” Davies said. “RBS’ takeover of ABN meant we were giving Dutch, US and UK advice involving 400 lawyers over 24 offices. This, and the continuing Rio Tinto work, are large and complex transactions, showing that there’s a good quality deal flow.”

Admitting that the coming year will be tougher than the past, Davies said Linklaters is stepping up its focus on the regulatory area in a bid to adapt to the market.

“There is an expectation that we will see more banking regulation,” explained Davies. “At the same time we’re focusing on robust growth in the Middle East, Asia and emerging Europe and regulation lawyers are going to be needed in these markets as well.”

Davies added that there is still a demand for specialist and complex multi-national advice, which has remained strong, with the US helping the firm to maintain its performance over the year as a whole.

The result of Linklaters financial performance this year means that Clifford Chance has maintained its crown as the firm with the highest turnover. Linklaters’ rival saw its turnover up by 11 per cent to £1.33bn from £1.19bn in 2006/07 (www.thelawyer.com, 29 May ).