The Lawyer’s new China Elite report contains the most detailed research available on the PRC legal market and contains unparalleled insight into the country's leading law firms. They vary in size, practice focus and geographic coverage, but they all share one common quality – ambition... Read more
This year, The Lawyer’s annual ranking of the largest UK law firms by turnover is available as an interactive, digital benchmarking tool. For the first time this will allow you to manipulate each data set against the metrics of your choice.
Freshfields corporate partner William Lawes is not surprised by the success of the US offices working out of the UK.
He says: "A lot of the big companies do have US shareholders. If you do make an offer for them you have to abide by the US stock exchange rules. That is still the preserve of the big Wall Street firms."
The table comes days after Linklaters announced it was the first law firm in Europe to break the trillion-dollar barrier after acting on deals worldwide worth $1,064bn (£648.7bn).
It was involved in two of 1999's biggest deals: it is advising the Royal Bank of Scotland on its hostile bid for NatWest; and it is working on Vodafone's $148bn (£92.5bn) bid for Mannesmann - the largest unsolicited M&A deal ever.
Linklaters senior partner Charles Allen-Jones says: "For the first time, Europe saw a higher growth of M&A deals than the US. This may well be indicative for the year ahead."
Norton Rose's fifth position can mainly be attributed to its involvement with the Vodafone/Mannesmann bid - it is advising the German telecommunications giant.
Lawes concedes that all firms have benefited from changes in industry.
He says: "It is a factor of consolidation and growth in the value of companies.
"Given that the stock market is riding quite high, doing deals that you do through shares becomes quite cheap."