Clifford Chance – UK 100

Turnover: £950m

Profit per equity partner: £562,000

Equity spread: £250,000-£630,000

Net profit: £235m

Profit margin: 25 per cent

Salaried partner remuneration: £190,000-£230,000

Revenue per lawyer: £354,000

Revenue per partner: £1,518,000

Revenue per equity partner: £2,340,000

Cost per lawyer: £266,000

Profit per lawyer: £88,000

No of partners: 626

No of equity partners: 406

No of female partners: 90

No of female equity partners: 38

Total no of fee-earners (including consultants, paralegals etc): 3,585

Total no of fee-earners (excluding consultants, paralegals etc): 2,684

Total no of staff: 7,445

Leverage ratio: 1:7.29

Equity partner to staff ratio: 1:9.51

Fee-earner to staff ratio: 1:1.08

Financial management: Partners receive a small monthly payment plus, until early 2004, a quarterly profit distribution. This system was meant to align performance with profit pay-out. Before this, profit was distributed on a monthly basis beginning the January after year-end. This left a 21-month gap from the beginning of the financial year and the month when pay-out began. This method hit some snags during 2003-04 because of a number of factors: a slowdown in work, poor cash collection, and the firm’s retained funds dipped to £161m, just £1m above the amount required to be kept within the firm according to the covenants connected to its 2002 $150m (£91.46m) private placement. Clifford Chance has now reverted to paying out on a monthly basis. Concerns over the private placement also meant that this year partners were asked to stump up cash to refinance part of its £30m bank facility.

Equity structure: Ten-year lockstep. Partners enter at 10 points and reach plateau at 100 units. A caveat to this is Clifford Chance’s US operation on the East Coast, where additional points are available for certain partners in addition to plateau units.

Billable hours targets: None.

Key clients: ABN Amro, Accenture, Barclays, Citigroup, Coca-Cola, EADS, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, KKR, Royal Bank of Scotland, Siemens, Swiss Life, Telefonica.