Cheap lunch? No Chance

Life’s tough for Clifford Chance associates nowadays.

First, they were berated by their boss for hanging around the office all evening just to get a free taxi home. And now, “against a background of rising food prices”, the joy of heavily subsidised meals looks like its gone stale.

In the middle of global food price chaos and market turmoil, the firm has slashed its dinner subsidies. And what’s more, the price of bread (and all food at the firm) has risen faster than an associate’s salary. See story.

On top of that, CC’s beleagured associates will now have to cut, toast and butter their own bagels as the beloved staff deli has been shut for breakfast and afternoon tea and turned self-service. And when hanging around the office on weekends, they will now be forced to scavenge for foodstuffs in the Canary Wharf shopping malls.

Word is, associates may even be forced to bring in a packed lunch, but they should beware the office tealeaf. A new survey has revealed that nicking a colleague’s food is about as low down and dirty as you can get. It’s even worse than “flossing your teeth with a paperclip and picking your nose” apparently. See story.

Things may be bad for CC associates but there is one crumb of comfort. They could be working at A&O. See story.

CC’s well-to-do NQ’s

Clifford Chance has announced its annual London salary increases, under which newly-qualified salaries have been bumped up by a whopping 4.88 per cent; a raise that, in percentage terms at least, outstrips NQ raises of 3.9 per cent at Linklaters and 2 per cent at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.

But while beating its magic circle rivals in the percentage stakes, this merely puts Clifford Chance associates back on par with its rivals: Clifford Chance NQers were on an oh-so pitiable 63,500 GBP a year until now. See story.

Now Clifford Chance’s NQs are on a ring-a-bling-bling 66,600 GBP- a figure the firm’s associates share with rivals at Links but which is still some 600 quid more per year than those young paupers at Freshfields.

According to London managing partner Jeremy Sandelson, his associates can thank their lucky stars because there’s “considerable economic uncertainty” – a familiar theme in Jeremy’s communications nowadays.

Huw, Hughes, hoo-ha

Celebration at Clifford Chance in Asia today, which is benefiting from not one but two new partners.

First up, London energy and infrastructure partner Geraint Hughes is relocating to Hong Kong to spend more time there and in Singapore (he’s being joined by lateral hire Simon Briscoe, late of Norton Rose). See story.

Huw Jenkins, head of the firm’s Asian finance and projects practice, comments that the “energy and infrastructure sectors are growing at an unprecedented rate in Asia”, while “aircraft finance activity in Asia is thriving”. Good news there, then.

Meanwhile as we revealed on Monday, the firm’s global head of oil and gas, Bleddyn Phillips, is to relocate from London to Moscow. See story.

Is it just us, or is there something going on here?

Geraint, Huw and Bleddyn have something in common: they also all sound like singers in a male-voice choir. They also have something else in common: they’ve all been sent to the frontiers.

Does David Childs have a secret plan to exile all his Welshmen?

Simmons still outside the silver circle

Herbert Smith has burst out of the blocks with its financial results, revealing a barnstorming 20 per cent boost in revenue in the pages of The Lawyer this morning. See story.

Simmons & Simmons has also decided to get its house in order this year, and has announced its financial results good and early. See story.

Revenue is up 16 per cent and average profit per equity partner is up about 15 per cent to top 600k. That means that Simmons’ PEP may even top Lovells this year!

Which pretty much sums Simmons up. Despite four years of pretty astonishing growth since the 2004 nadir, when PEP sunk to just 275k, the firm still lags way behind the silver circle, where PEP averaged 895,000 GBP last year. This year the silver circle’s average PEP could top a million.

While Simmons’ recovery is admirable, with each passing year it falls further behind the silver circle – let alone the magic circle it once aspired to join.