…while London firms struggle to match US figures

The London offices of US law firms are failing to keep pace with the growth of their US colleagues.

The Lawyer can reveal that while many US firms have recorded double-digit global revenue growth, their London practices have been stymied by the market malaise that is also continuing to hamper recovery by UK law firms.

At the six-month mark, nearly all UK firms are showing either flat revenues or a decline in gross, compared with the previous period.
It is understood that during the six months to October, Clifford Chance has seen revenues inch to a mere £420m. Sources state that in October last year the firm announced to partners that it expected the top of lockstep for 2003-04 to reach £625,000, signalling a 15 per cent decline on the previous year.

The majority of UK firms recorded a flat six months, although Allen & Overy and Lovells saw gross revenues increase by 1 per cent and 4 per cent respectively.

US firms in London fared better, with Mayer Brown Rowe & Maw, Shearman & Sterling and Sidley Austin Brown & Wood, recording comfortable fee growth.

Compared with the US, though, where increases of at least 10 per cent were common for 2003, London is still playing catch-up.

UK half-year results
Law Firm UK rev (£m) UK rev per partner (£K) UK rev per lawyer (£K) UK partners UK lawyers
Clifford Chance 420 646.154 113.514 650 3700
Freshfields 375 725.338 172.334 517 2176
Linklaters 357 748.428 181.218 477 1970
Allen & Overy 302 694.253 161.930 435 1865
Lovells 192 574.850 160.804 334 1194
Herbert Smith 110 550.000 137.328 200 801
Slaughters 105 826.772 180.723 127 581
Ashurst 80 519.481 124.805 154 641

US full-year results 2003
Law Firm UK rev (global rev) (£m) UK rev per partner (£K) UK rev per lawyer (£K) UK partners UK lawyers
Mayer Brown 81.5 (438) 0.8 287 99 284
Shearman 51.1 (433) 2.1 433 24 118
Weil Gotshal 49.8 (465) 2.0 498 25 100
Skadden Arps 41.0 (824) 2.7 554 15 74
Sidley Austin 36.9 (547) 1.3 388 28 95
Dewey Ballantine 19.1 (215) 1.5 490 13 39
 
Source: The Lawyer