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English firms enjoying another year of booming income should brace themselves for a drop in fortunes, according to senior lawyers in London’s financial district. Top firms including Clifford Chance and Eversheds have published rocketing annual turover increases of more than 30 percent. Freshfields also recorded a 30 percent-plus rise in turnover to �375 million ($566 million). Ian Terry, managing partner of Freshfields, tells “Cycles are cycles, and at the moment the market is strong, but you get the feeling that it can’t continue at the same momentum. A downturn wouldn’t surprise me.” Simmons & Simmons senior partner Bill Knight says that although the industry has seen increases for several years, people should be cautious. “Those who have involvements in European legal services are going to see further success, I am sure, but the U.K. market is not as secure. It’s a good time at the moment, but it can’t last.” Simmons & Simmons achieved a two percent growth, which it sees as a major disappointment, but with a 20 percent increase in profits per partner, it is confident the next set of results will be more flattering. Clifford Chance has enjoyed profits of �580 million ($875 million), a massive 31 percent increase, using four months of the annual figures, including profits accrued since a merger with Rogers & Wells LLP, and Puender Volhard Weber & Axster. Eversheds has recorded preliminary profits of �212 million ($320 million), an increase of 20 percent, while Speechly Bircham gained 14 percent, and DLA amassed an 11 percent increase in turnover. Nigel Boardman, senior partner at Slaughter and May, says: “There is a genuine client demand for services at present, which is consolidated by a vaster life cycle for areas such as commercial practice. “However this is merely an acceleration of a steady growth.”

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