The Lawyer UK 200

  • UK 200 Position: 2
  • UK 200 Sh…

Position: 2 (same as last year)
Firm: Linklaters

Turnover: £1,293m
Profit per equity partner: £1,440K
Earnings per partner: £1,121K
Equity spread: £725K-£1,813K
Net profit: £564m
Profit margin: 44 per cent
Revenue per fee-earner: £433K
Revenue per lawyer: £552K
Revenue per partner: £2,449K
Revenue per equity partner: £2.94m
Total number of fee-earners: 2,986
Total number of qualified partners: 2,343
Total number of partners: 528
Total number of equity partners: 440
Total number of female partners: 77
Total number of female equity partners: 56
Total number of staff: 5,591
Leverage ratio (equity partners/fee-earners): 1:4.3

At the end of the 2006-07 financial year, bets were placed on Linklaters overtaking Clifford Chance as the world’s number one law firm in terms of turnover. However Linklaters missed the top spot by just 2.8 per cent, posting an increase in turnover of 15.3 per cent to £1.29bn compared to Clifford Chance’s £1.33bn.

Nonetheless Linklaters managing partner Simon Davies said he is satisfied with what he called “a robust performance,” adding that the firm is reaping the benefit from past investment in its global network.

“These are challenging times and we have seen a decline in major deal activity in the second half of the financial year,” said Davies. “It will be critical for our partners to stay close to clients and, as the market changes, to adapt to that market.”

In the 2007/08 financial year, Linklaters corporate practice continued to contribute the most to the firm’s overall turnover, bringing in 41 per cent of revenues – £529m. Finance was just five per cent behind, accounting for £465m of over all turnover.

The firm’s commercial group, which includes litigation and property, made up 23 per cent of turnover – £297m.

The UK brought in £685m – 53 per cent of revenues, while the firm’s European offices brought in £478m – 37 per cente. Asia, with £129m, contributed 10 per cent, and the Americas with £77m per cent, or 6 per cent, brought up the rear.

Linklaters could be in the running still to overtake Clifford Chance as since the 2004-05 financial year it has boosted its income by 60.6 per cent compared to its counterpart, which saw turnover for the same period grow 45.4 per cent.

The problem Linklaters will have in keeping up its current revenue growth, however, is not solely down to the economic climate but to its relationships with clients such as JPMorgan, which axed the magic circle firm from its panel (The Lawyer, 23 June).

Davies would not comment on the actual relationship, but points out that the firm is busy in “terms of other work”.

RBS’ takeover of ABN meant the firm was giving Dutch, US and UK advice involving 400 lawyers over 24 offices. Rio Tinto has also helped to keep Linklaters practice areas buoyant with large and complex transactions which, Davies argued, show there is a good quality deal flow.

Davies added that stepping up its focus on the regulatory area will help keep revenues up , as will demand for specialist and complex multi-national advice, plus the US helping the firm to maintain its performance over the year as a whole.

In relation to overseas work, Linklaters will be focussing its efforts on growing its hold on the so-called emerging markets such as Asia, Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

Part of this plan was the restructure of its Europe practice, which saw Linklaters capital markets chief Nick Eastwell become head of the firm’s new Emerging Europe, Middle East and North Africa (EEMENA) group (The Lawyer, 12 May).

At the time of writing, Linklaters is in the midst of a consultation on its partnership structure, which includes proposals to lower the bottom rung of the firm’s equity ladder (The Lawyer, 18 August).

The recommendation would allow senior associates and salaried partners who launch new practices to enter the equity on the same level of experience as their counterparts in more established sectors.

For the last financial year, however, Linklaters’ average profit per fully-entitled equity partner rose 11.3 per cent to £1.44m, from £1.29m in 2006-07. Several partners in jurisdictions such as Germany operate on reduced equity entitlement, where the value of a point is worth a fraction of a point in London. As a result, last year The Lawyer UK 200 Annual Report reported a PEP for all equity partners of £1.15m.

The average profit figure for all partners, including those on salaries, has risen by 12.4 per cent to £1.16m. The firm’s pre-tax profit increased by 15.1 per cent to £564m.

Top partners at the firm will earn £1.81m, up 11.1 per cent from last year’s £1.62m. First-year full equity partners will receive £725,000 up 12.1 per cent from £647,000.

2006-07: Corporate 16, finance 7, litigation 3, competition 2, TMT/IP 2, projects 2
2005-06: Corporate 12, finance 10, property 3, projects 3, public law 2, TMT/IP 1, competition 1
2004-05: Corporate 11, finance 8, litigation 4, projects 3, property 2, TMT/IP 2, competition 1

2006-07: Corporate 2, finance 4, litigation 4
2005-06: Corporate 5, finance 6, competition 1
2004-05: Corporate 6, finance 5, TMT/IP 1

Intake as percentage of partnership: 8.1
New female partners as percentage of intake: 21.4
Firms recruited from: Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance, Shearman & Sterling, Sonier Poulain & Associés, White & Case
Equity structure: 416 equity partners, 104 non-equity
Practice area(s) most heavily promoted: Finance, corporate
*Figures supplied relate to the calendar year

In the past three years Linklaters has promoted an impressive 95 associates to its partnership, with corporate receiving a 40 per cent-plus share and finance receiving 25 per cent.
London saw the lion’s share of promotions with 37, while Paris had nine and Germany as a whole had 12, which was split between Cologne, Munich, Berlin and Frankfurt.
By comparison, the magic circle firm recruited 34 laterals in the past three years, with 15 joining the finance practice and 13 joining corporate. The partnership lost 14 partners to other firms such as LeBoeuf Lamb Greene & MacRae and Lovells as well as the retirement of former senior partner Anthony Cann.
Elsewhere, promotions and hires have been in the single figures. TMT and IP together gained one lateral and five promotions, while litigation received four hires and seven internal appointments.

  • Web:
  • Telephone: 020 7456 5414
  • Fax:
  • No. of Trainees: 268
  • No. of Trainee Vacancies: 130
  • Training contract application deadline: 31-Aug-08
  • Selection
    • Individual interview: Yes
    • Panel interview: No
    • Assessment day: No
    • Psychometric test: Yes
    • Written exercise: No
    • Case study: Yes
  • No. of Seats: 4
  • Opportunities Abroad: Yes
  • Vacation Schemes
    • No. placements: 80
    • Summer vacation scheme application deadline: 20-Jan-08
  • GDL/CPE Intake: 40%
  • GDL/CPE funding
    • Fees: Yes
    • Maintenance: £6,000 to £7,000
  • 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: Yes
    • Gym membership: Yes
    • Subsidised lunch: No
    • Free taxis after hours: Yes