Linklaters retains crown as UK’s largest corporate practice

Linklaters has retained its place as the largest corporate practice in the UK, according to figures compiled for The Lawyer’s UK 200 Annual Report 2009.

Bolstered by instructions from Lloyds TSB on the takeover of HBOS and the Government’s recapitalisation programme, Linklaters’ corporate department brought in £453.3m in fees during 2008-09. 

Despite this figure representing a 14 per cent drop on revenue from the previous year, the magic circle firm remained at the top of the table.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer increased corporate turnover by nine per cent and leapfrogged Clifford Chance to take second place.

The firm’s deal lawyers made £424.7m in 2008-09, with standout instructions from HBOS and on the £4.1bn Xstrata rights issue.

Allen & Overy (A&O) also saw corporate revenue increase, but not enough to overhaul Clifford Chance in third place. The two firms billed £360m and £370m respectively.

Across the top 20 corporate firms in the UK, revenue fell by four per cent during the year, which saw M&A activity grind to a halt following the collapse of Lehman Brothers in September 2008.

In contrast, corporate revenue for the top 20 rose 17.4 per cent the previous year.

The only firms in the table to report an increase in corporate turnover were Freshfields, A&O, Herbert Smith, Lovells, CMS Camerons McKenna, Denton Wilde Sapte and Salans.

Salans, helped by a move to billing in euros and an earlier year-end, saw the fastest growth with corporate revenue up 25 per cent to £73m.

The Lawyer’s UK 200 Annual Report 2009 will be published