Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) has emerged as the UK law firm with the most FTSE 100 client relationships, according to data gathered by The Lawyer’s digital tool Lawyer Market Intelligence (LMI).

It advises 39 of the top 100 listed companies, of which eight are financial, seven from the energy and resources sector and six are manufacturing.

Second to HSF is Slaughter and May, which is the most prevalent adviser to FTSE 250 companies. It advises 35 out of the FTSE 100.

The LMI rankings look at the total number of relationships law firms have with companies, spread across a variety of practice areas ranging from corporate to employment and litigation to IT. It therefore gives the most rounded view available of law firm relationship capital with leading companies.

While Slaughters consistently appears high in the M&A rankings, HSF is often instructed on both corporate and litigation mandates for FTSE majors. Slaughters’ clients are concentrated within the financial and manufacturing sectors, such as RSA Insurance, Schroders, Standard Chartered, BAE Systems, GKN and Rolls-Royce.

“We’ve always been very focused on the corporates, so it doesn’t surprise me that we’re scoring well here,” said HSF global head of corporate Scott Cochrane. “We have over the last two years pushed our strategy towards building our relationships with clients, so that they turn to us when things get tough.”

“Clients want a law firm to help it get out of trouble or restructure their business, so firms have to re-align how they think about them and engage in a different way. We want to hold the clients’ hand in any point in their business cycle and are focused on the “truly global corporates”, a large proportion of which make up the FTSE 100.”

The top advisers to the FTSE follows a familiar legal market pattern, with Linklaters and Allen & Overy joint third with 33 relationships and then Freshfields with 32.

Clifford Chance fares less well than its magic circle peers, with 27 relationships. It ties with Eversheds for sixth place.

Among firms with a US heritage, Baker & McKenzie does best with 17 FTSE 100 clients. Companies for which it has worked include BAT, InterContinental Hotels Group, International Airline Group, Shell, Standard Chartered and Unilever.

The FTSE 100 report reveals the relationship between in-house counsel, private practice law firms and barristers’ chambers, charting which are the most used in each sector and the most popular overall. It also reveals the size of the FTSE 100 legal teams. To purchase the report, email richard.edwards@centaurmedia.com.