Revenues move upward across UK top 50 despite gloomy predictions

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has posted the largest percentage change in turnover among the magic circle for the 2012/13 year, with the outlook for the top 50 firms remaining positive despite fears of a major slump across the profession.

While turnover appears to have stagnated at Linklaters, which claimed a 1 per cent increase to £1.195bn (5 July 2013), and at Allen & Overy, which put turnover up 0.8 per cent to £1.19bn (4 July 2013), Freshfields has seen revenues rise by 7.2 per cent to £1.221bn.

Meanwhile, Freshfields has also seen the biggest hike in average profit per equity partner, posting a 7.6 per cent jump from £1.229m last year to £1.398m in 2012/13 (5 July 2013). That said, Linklaters also saw PEP rise by 6.5 per cent from £1.243m to £1.261m. At A&O PEP stayed flat at £1.1m.

Those firms in the The Lawyer UK top 50 that have posted figures have largely seen an uptick with the exception of Field Fisher Waterhouse (FFW), where turnover dropped 2.5 per cent to £95m and PEP 2 per cent to £402,000 (1 July 2013).

Those with chunky revenue increases in the The Lawyer UK top 50 have achieved growth largely driven by mergers. Clyde & Co, for instance, saw revenues up 17.5 per cent from £287m to £336.6m (11 June 2013) as a result of it being the first full financial year since the 2011 merger with Barlow Lyde & Gilbert (8 August 2011).

DWF, meanwhile, posted a whopping 84 per cent revenue hike to £188m from £102m (6 June 2013) thanks largely to its £3.5m rescue takeover of failing firm Cobbetts in a pre-pack deal in January (31 January 2013).

RPC outperformed its peers in terms of organic growth, driving up revenues by 20.7 per cent from £68m to £82.1m (11 June 2013). The firm made its first move into the Hong Kong market in the last financial year, after hiring a five-partner team from rival Clydes (4 April 2012).

The Lawyer UK top 50: results so far

The Lawyer UK top 50: the story so far
Firm Turnover (£m)    
  2011/12 2012/13 Percentage change (%)
Clifford Chance 1303 1271 -2.5
Linklaters 1184 1195 1
Allen & Overy 1182 1189 1
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer 1139 1221 7.2
Hogan Lovells (UK) 582 591 1.5
Norton Rose Fulbright 822.3 845.3 3
Eversheds 366 376  
Ashurst 322 323 0.3
Clyde & Co 287 336.6 17
Bird & Bird 235 249 6
Pinsent Masons 221 309 39.8
Taylor Wessing (global) 212 228 7
SJ Berwin 180.1 184.6 2.5
Nabarro 113.4 116.3 2.6
Kennedys 109 117 9
Olswang 108 111.3 3
Macfarlanes 102.2 114.2 11.7
DWF 102 188 84
Watson Farley Williams 99.9 102.1 2.2
Osborne Clarke 98 112 14
Field Fisher Waterhouse 97.5 95 -2
Berrymans Lace Mawer 81.2 84.7 4.3
Weightmans 77 82 6.5
Mishcon de Reya 73.1 83.4 14
RPC 68 82.1 20.7
Mills & Reeve 69.4 70.9 2