Clifford Chance

Position: 1 (same as last year)
Firm: Clifford Chance

Turnover: £1,329m
Profit per equity partner: £1,170K
Earnings per partner: £877K
Equity spread: £528K-£1,320K
Net profit: £461m
Profit margin: 35 per cent
Revenue per fee-earner: £348K
Revenue per lawyer: £470K
Revenue per partner: £2,168K
Revenue per equity partner: £3.36m
Total number of fee-earners: 3,817
Total number of qualified partners: 2,828
Total number of partners: 613
Total number of equity partners: 395
Total number of female partners: 95
Total number of female equity partners: 47
Total number of staff: 7,139
Leverage ratio (equity partners/fee-earners): 1:6.2

Clifford Chance performed solidly in 2007-08, though it grew at a slower rate than its magic circle rivals. Turnover increased by 11.8 per cent to £1.33bn, with average profit per equity partner (PEP) rising by 12.7 per cent to £1.17m.

Clifford Chance’s growth this year was fuelled almost entirely by overseas jurisdictions, which grew by 19 per cent. Work outside London generated £781m, which at almost 59 per cent of total turnover, is a higher proportion than and more in absolute terms than at any other magic circle firm.

Turnover growth in London was minimal at 2 per cent, however. Managing partner David Childs said that London has been gradually reducing in scale over the past years – a pattern he said he expects to continue.

The size of the US practice too has remained almost static, with growth of 3 per cent taking it up to £172m – 13 per cent of totals. Nevertheless, Childs said that the US East coast remained a number one priority for the firm in future.

The strongest regional growth for Clifford Chance was experienced in Asia, where turnover leapt by a fifth to £100m. Continental Europe saw growth of 17 per cent to take it to £494m, fuelled partly by a strong showing in central and eastern Europe (CEE), with a new office having been opened most recently in Kiev (as reported on, 7 March).

CEE now contributes 5.6 per cent of global turnover and is increasing rapidly, said Childs, and revenues in Moscow increased by a staggering two thirds year on year.

However, last year Clifford Chance reduced the lockstep in its CEE offices from the normal level, running from 40 to 100 points, to a lower 30 to 70 points (13 August 2007). With profit per point (PPP) at £13,200 this year (up significantly from £11,500 last year), top-of-lockstep partners in the CEE offices would take home £396,000 less than their colleagues of similar seniority in other jurisdictions, where top of equity wins partners £1.32m.

Equity partners take nine years to reach the 100-point plateau.

Operating costs across all offices increased by 10 per cent, with staff costs having made up the bulk of the growth to £542m, whereas the firm has managed to keep other operating costs down, increasing by less than 4 per cent to £304m.

This can be attributed to the firm’s success in its £30m cost-cutting drive, which will see 10 per cent of global business services staff jobs moving to an offshore centre in India by the end of this year, a move set to save the firm around £8m (as reported in The Lawyer, 2 October 2006). Other cost savings are being achieved through the reduction of its international IT data centres from seven to four and other incremental cost-savings.

Banking and corporate are still the main fee-earning powerhouses at the firm, contributing 28 and 31 per cent to global revenues respectively.

Litigation makes up 15 per cent, capital markets 11 per cent and real estate 8 per cent. The tax, pensions and employment practice groups contribute another 8 per cent in combination.

2006-07: Banking 10, capital markets 5, commercial 2, corporate 12, litigation 6, real estate 3
2005-06: Banking 7, capital markets 5, commercial 4, corporate 4, litigation 8, real estate 2
2004-05: Banking 4, capital markets 3, corporate 6, litigation 3, commercial 4

2006-07: Finance 4, corporate 4, property 1
2005-06: Finance 8, corporate 9, litigation 1, property 5
2004-05: Finance 1, corporate 1, litigation 3, property 1

Intake as percentage of partnership: 7.8
New female partners as percentage of intake: 19.1
Firms recruited from: CMS Cameron McKenna, Chadbourne & Parke, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett
Equity structure: 392 equity partners, 214 non-equity
Practice area(s) most heavily promoted: Capital markets, corporate, finance, litigation
*Figures supplied relate to the calendar year

In three years Clifford Chance has made 88 internal promotions compared with 38 lateral partner hires. In that time London has maintained a strong share of promotions, including nine in 2006-07. Globally, corporate and banking continue to be the most promoted practice areas, followed by litigation and capital markets. In London finance, corporate and capital markets all pushed two internal candidates through in 2006-07.
Meanwhile, real estate returned to form. Five candidates have been made up in the past two years, including one in London, following two stagnant years.
Germany remains a focus. After London, Frankfurt saw the highest level of internal partner promotions with seven in 2006-07, but Munich saw no partner promotions for the second year running. Shanghai was the only mainland China office to receive an internal promotion, while Hong Kong was boosted with three.
Lateral hires tapered off in 2006-07 with only nine globally compared with 23 the previous year. Out of those nine, five were in New York and two were in Amsterdam. Again, corporate and capital markets were the focus.

  • Web:
  • Telephone: 020 7006 1403
  • Fax: 020 7006 5555
  • No. of Trainees: 250
  • No. of Trainee Vacancies: 130
  • Training contract application deadline: Non-law 31-Jan-08 / law 31-Jul-08
  • Selection
    • Individual interview: No
    • Panel interview: No
    • Assessment day: Yes
    • Psychometric test: Yes
    • Written exercise: No
    • Presentation: No
  • No. of Seats: 4
  • Opportunities Abroad: Yes
  • Vacation Schemes
    • No. placements: 70
    • Summer vacation scheme application deadline: 31-Jan-08
  • GDL/CPE Intake: 30%
  • GDL/CPE funding
    • Fees: Yes
    • Maintenance: £5,000-£6,000
  • LPC funding
    • Fees: Yes
    • Maintenance: £7,000
  • Salary/benefits
    • Start: £37,400
    • Qualification: £66,600
    • Season ticket loan: Yes
    • Healthcare: Yes
    • Pension scheme: Yes
    • Life assurance: Yes
    • Bonus scheme: No
    • Gym membership: Yes
    • Subsidised lunch: No