Magic Circle firms no-show in global deal league

US firms dominate the table, which is based on deal value, but magic circle firms Freshfields, Linklaters & Alliance and Clifford Chance make it into the top 20.

The only other UK firm included in the table for leading legal advisers in worldwide M&A is Norton Rose, which is ranked in sixteenth place.

New York practice Simpson Thacher & Bartlett tops the table after working on 26.1 per cent of all deals during 1999.

Clifford Chance is ranked eleventh with $390bn (£242bn) worth of deals. Norton Rose, which acted for Mannesmann in the Vodafone bid, did $273bn (£170bn) worth of deals last year.

But City stalwart Slaughter and May, which has consistently resisted the creep of globalisation, does not figure in the tables.

Slaughters corporate partner Patrick Balfour denies that his firm has fallen behind. He says: "Year on year firms go up and down the tables and I don't think that globalisation is just led by your ranking on a league table."

A source at Allen & Overy, which also failed to make the grade, says the firm failed to rank because the US & UK practices included in the table were involved in some of the biggest mergers and acquisitions of last year.

But Freshfields' head of corporate Barry O'Brien believes firms need to have global as well as local capabilities. He says: "There are now a significant number of deals which do not touch the UK or only touch it indirectly.