Childs: my vision for Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance” />Clifford Chance managing partner David Childs has set a series of ambitious objectives for the magic circle firm as average profit per equity partner (PEP) is projected to shoot up by nearly 25 per cent.

In a memo sent to partners last week and seen by The Lawyer, Childs announced a number of aims for his four-year term of office following the partnership retreat in London.

In the memo, Childs said the management was in favour of what he termed “cautious expansion” and cited demand from clients for increased depth and breadth of coverage. This is understood to refer to India and China, but Childs also acknowledged the difficulties of practising law in India, particularly with regard to taxation issues.

He also underlined the firm’s commitment to its historically troubled US practice, claiming that it had turned a corner.

Other announcements included the escalation of an offshore outsourcing plan, with the aim of transferring routine legal tasks, such as litigation support and due diligence, to cheaper jurisidictions.

The memo also called for more lawyer mobility around the global network.

Clifford Chance is due to announce its financial results officially this week, but sources predict that turnover will reach a record £1.03bn, up 13 per cent on the previous year’s revenue of £914m.

Average PEP is due to reach £810,000 – up 24 per cent on the 2005 figure of £651,000. Plateau partner remuneration is slated to be £920,000, up 29 per cent on last year’s figure of £710,000.

Despite the gains, Childs’ memo stated that the firm should aim for a profit per unit of £12,500, which would equate to a plateau partner earnings figure of £1.25m.

The firm’s net indebtedness fell from £220m to £70m in the last financial year and partners’ funds in the form of retained drawings stood at £390m. However, the memo warned that the firm’s lock-up performance could be improved.

Clifford Chance declined to comment.