Freshfields of dreams

The start of a new financial year is upon us.

Time to look forward and time to leave behind cautious optimism (enough already) in favour of stone cold, plain as the nose on your face, growth.

But hang on a minute…

Before we all step boldly ahead into the bright new dawn, there’s the little matter of what happened last year. How did the world’s largest law firms come out of the recession, if at all?

All is revealed in the Transatlantic Elite, published today. And getting a gong for the strongest performance over a three-year period is none other than Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, which in 2008-09 (the latest figures available) posted turnover growth of 14.2 per cent on the year before, knocking its rivals into a cocked hat (see story).

The magic circle firm also revealed an average profit per equity partner (PEP) increase of 18.1 per cent, just pipping Slaughter and May.

There will be furrowed brows by comparison at Cravath Swaine & Moore and Debevoise & Plimpton – the two firms that saw the largest year-on-year revenue drops.

The recruitment figures are a story of their own too. This year’s Transatlantic Elite reveals where the Sweet Sixteen are putting their eggs (firmly not in the same basket).

The prize for the most new faces overall goes to Latham & Watkins, which tops the table for the most lateral hires over the year – an astonishing 48 new partners since January 2008.

But don’t take our word for it, see for yourself here: Transatlantic Elite.