• September 15, 2020 | news

    UK Top 50 Full Results: PEP Hits a Wall As Uncertainty Lingers

    By Hannah Roberts

    The full ranking of the top 50 U.K. law firms for the 2019-20 financial year shows Brexit negotiations and the coronavirus pandemic contributed to a slump in both revenue and PEP growth rates.

  • September 15, 2020 | news

    UK Top 50 Analysis: Things Will Get Worse Before They Get Better

    By Paul Hodkinson

    It is not just COVID-19 that is hurting growth rates across the country’s commercial legal industry.

  • October 13, 2020 | news

    UK 100 Results: Lower 50 Law Firms Struggle to Keep Pace With Elite

    By Meganne Tillay

    Firms ranked 51-100 suffered an overall fall in PEP and revenue per lawyer and many are now cutting staff.

  • December 11, 2018 |

    UK Second 50 push combined revenues towards £2bn mark

    For the first time ever, Legal Week has this year extended its UK revenue rankings to cover the largest 100 law firms

  • September 20, 2018 |

    UK Top 50 2017-18: Macfarlanes and Travers on a standout year for the City bellwethers

    Travers and Macfarlanes were among the strongest UK top 50 performers for 2017-18 - so what was the secret behind their success?

  • September 19, 2018 |

    UK Top 50 2017-18: firms defy Brexit fears to push average PEP to new record high

    UK's 50 largest firms push combined revenues to £22.5bn as profits focus pays off

  • July 13, 2018 |

    Mills & Reeve and Fieldfisher widen scope for bonus handouts after strong financial results

    Mills & Reeve increases bonus pool to £2m as Fieldfisher extends payouts to non-fee earners

  • July 03, 2018 |

    Clifford Chance kicks off magic circle reporting season with 5% revenue rise and 16% PEP hike

    CC sees PEP climb to £1.6m as it continues innovation push with two new business streams

  • July 03, 2018 |

    Shoosmiths posts double-digit profit and revenue growth as PEP soars to record high

    Partner profits climb 18% as firm bulks up new bases in Leeds and Belfast

  • June 06, 2018 |

    TLT continues consistent growth with 10% revenue hike to break £80m mark

    UK top 50 firm hits new revenue high after another year of growth

  • November 06, 2017 |

    PEP growth at US top 10 outpaces UK rivals by 50% over five years as earnings gap widens

    The US top 10 have increased PEP by an average of 24.7% over the last five years, compared with just 15.7% at their UK counterparts

  • October 12, 2017 |

    UK Top 50 2016-17: the firms battling to make their mark at the edge of the rankings

    Whether by merger or organic growth, the firms just outside the top 50 face intense competition for a place in the top tier of the UK market

  • September 28, 2017 |

    'It's a tough environment, and getting tougher' - law firm leaders on the state of the market

    UK top 50 management figures from firms including Simmons, Stephenson Harwood and Ashurst offer their take on 2016-17 and the prospects for the year ahead

  • September 28, 2017 |

    'The vote killed a number of deals' - HSF senior partner James Palmer on Brexit and a new legal market

    HSF senior partner James Palmer talks Brexit, a little bit more Brexit and the need for scale

  • September 21, 2017 |

    UK Top 50 2016-17: Eversheds Sutherland's Lee Ranson on long-sought mergers and tech priorities

    Eversheds Sutherland co-CEO Lee Ranson discusses the firm's February transatlantic merger, investment priorities and the firm's performance last year

  • September 20, 2017 |

    'We were unlucky, but we learned a lot' - DLA Piper's Levine on that cyber attack, Brexit and office closures

    DLA Piper co-CEO Simon Levine talks to Legal Week about the firm's cyber attack earlier this year, Brexit, Trump and the UK merger market

  • September 19, 2017 |

    UK Top 50 2016-17: A&O managing partner Andrew Ballheimer on why clients are 'crying out' for truly global firms

    A&O's managing partner discusses transatlantic mega-mergers, the Brexit 'phoney war' and the factors behind the firm's record-setting year

  • September 18, 2017 |

    UK Top 50 2016-17: Linklaters managing partner Moore on mergers, clients, Trump and Brexit

    In the first of a series of UK top 50 management Q&As, Linklaters chief Gideon Moore reflects on a strong year for the firm

  • September 15, 2017 |

    'This has been a strong quarter' - new financial year gets off to good start as top 100 see fee income rise

    UK's 100 largest firms bullish about year ahead with average revenue increase of 5% predicted

  • September 11, 2017 |

    UK Top 50 2016-17: the firms which now have lower PEP than they did five years ago

    Thirty percent of the UK top 50 now have lower partner profits than they did in 2011-12

  • September 08, 2017 |

    UK Top 50 2016-17: the winners and losers over the last five years

    Magic circle lags top 50 competitors for five-year revenue growth as mergers reshape market

  • August 31, 2017 |

    UK top 50 push total revenues past £20bn as currency gains mask market uncertainty

    One third of UK top 50 post double-digit revenue rises as group's total turnover jumps 10%

  • September 06, 2016 |

    UK top 50 firms achieve sixth year of revenue growth as partner profits stall

    Combined revenue for top 50 hits £18.2bn; eight largest firms bring in more than £10bn

  • July 11, 2016 |

    Ashurst partner departures continue as Latham & Watkins makes second hire this month

    Restructuring and insolvency partner Simon Baskerville's departure follows bruising financial results for the firm

  • July 08, 2016 |

    BLP's revenue falls 2% as firm delays salary reviews

    The firm has delayed UK based salary reviews following the result of the UK's EU referendum

  • July 07, 2016 |

    Taylor Wessing posts single-digit increase in UK revenue and PEP

    Taylor Wessing sees UK revenue climb 4% as PEP hits £770,000

  • July 07, 2016 |

    Ashurst PEP plunges 19% as revenue falls 10% in 2015-16

    As PEP drops to 11-year low, managing partner Paul Jenkins attributes the decline to factors including internal investment

  • July 07, 2016 |

    Allen & Overy achieves sixth year of top-line growth as profit dips marginally

    A&O sees revenue climb £29m to £1.31bn as top of equity reaches £1.86m

  • July 06, 2016 |

    Clifford Chance revenue hits record high as PEP jumps 10%

    Clifford Chance reaches new revenue high despite Brexit as PEP climbs 23% in three years

  • June 13, 2016 |

    Top 10 UK firms outpace smaller peers with 5.7% revenue growth in 2015-16

    Deloitte survey shows strong year for top 10 firms as growth across the rest of the top 50 lags behind

  • June 13, 2016 |

    Top 10 UK firms outpace smaller peers with 5.7% revenue growth in 2015-16

    Deloitte survey shows strong year for top 10 firms as growth across the rest of the top 50 lags behind

  • June 06, 2016 |

    Freeths nears spot in UK top 50 with record results

    Freeths has announced record financial figures that push the national firm closer to entering the UK top 50

  • June 06, 2016 |

    Freeths nears spot in UK top 50 with record results

    Freeths has announced record financial figures that push the national firm closer to entering the UK top 50

  • May 24, 2016 |

    Ashurst and Eversheds make a splash on £140m Joules IPO

    The UK clothing and lifestyle company expects to raise around £77.5m from the flotation

  • May 24, 2016 |

    Ashurst and Eversheds make a splash on £140m Joules IPO

    The UK clothing and lifestyle company expects to raise around £77.5m from the flotation

  • April 11, 2016 |

    In-house lawyers fear Brexit with most wanting to stay in Europe

    More than two-thirds of in-house lawyers believe their companies would be adversely affected if Britain left the EU

  • April 11, 2016 |

    In-house lawyers fear Brexit with most wanting to stay in Europe

    More than two-thirds of in-house lawyers believe their companies would be adversely affected if Britain left the EU

  • September 22, 2015 |

    'Running faster to stand still' - why the UK top 50 are struggling to boost the bottom line

    Georgina Stanley asks Tony Williams whether the UK's leading law firms will ever return to the pre-crash glory days

  • September 22, 2015 |

    UK Top 50 2014-15: Results special

    The UK's leading commercial law firms saw a fifth consecutive year of combined growth in 2014-15, despite currency fluctuations hampering the performance of many of the largest internationally-facing firms.

  • September 22, 2015 |

    Disputes work drives turnover growth at UK top 50 firms

    Work in litigation accounts for a larger proportion of turnover than either corporate or finance work

  • September 22, 2015 |

    Disputes work drives turnover growth at UK top 50 firms

    Work in litigation accounts for a larger proportion of turnover than either corporate or finance work

  • September 21, 2015 |

    Insurance and shipping firms experience mixed fortunes in choppy market

    Headline growth of 2.8% masks varying fortunes as shipping firms continue to struggle in tough market

  • September 21, 2015 |

    Insurance and shipping firms experience mixed fortunes in choppy market

    Headline growth of 2.8% masks varying fortunes as shipping firms continue to struggle in tough market

  • September 18, 2015 |

    Magic circle outpaces average Top 50 firm but currency woes hit growth

    Growth continues but at a slower pace due to euro exposure with firm leaders anticipating ongoing uncertainty in Europe

  • September 18, 2015 |

    Magic circle outpaces average Top 50 firm but currency woes hit growth

    Growth continues but at a slower pace due to euro exposure with firm leaders anticipating ongoing uncertainty in Europe

  • September 18, 2015 |

    Strong success for the mid-tier as UK-wide firms come roaring back

    Firms with UK-wide office networks significantly out perform the rest of the market and reflect the return to growth in the UK economy

  • September 18, 2015 |

    Strong success for the mid-tier as UK-wide firms come roaring back

    Firms with UK-wide office networks significantly out perform the rest of the market and reflect the return to growth in the UK economy

  • September 17, 2015 |

    UK top 50 push average PEP to new high as leading firms struggle to achieve top-line growth

    Average partner profit rises to record levels as handful of mergers mask lack of revenue growth at UK's top firms

  • September 17, 2015 |

    UK top 50 push average PEP to new high as leading firms struggle to achieve top-line growth

    Average partner profit rises to record levels as handful of mergers mask lack of revenue growth at UK's top firms

  • September 11, 2014 |

    UK top 50: law firm leaders give their verdict on 2013-14

    Top partners agree the pressure to deliver more for less will intensify as the fast-moving market continues to keep firms on their toes

  • September 03, 2014 |

    UK top 50: global tie-ups help boost equity partner numbers

    Equity partner headcount among the UK's 50 leading law firms grew by 3.7% across the group in 2013-14, with the impact of global mergers helping to bulk out the numbers.

  • September 02, 2014 |

    UK top 50: DLA Piper retains crown as largest UK-grown firm by global revenue

    DLA Piper has held on to its position as the number one UK-headquartered law firm by international revenue, according to Legal Week's global rankings.

  • September 01, 2014 |

    UK Top 50 in five years' time: a ranking with a shelf-life?

    As we consider the financial results for 2013-14 it is easy to assume that the picture is rosier for the UK's largest law firms.

  • September 01, 2014 |

    UK Top 50: consolidation drives growth at UK's largest firms as 85% see revenue hikes over five years

    More than one in five of the UK's top 50 law firms have seen their fee income grow by at least 50% over the last five years, according to Legal Week's analysis of firms' financial performance

  • August 31, 2014 |

    UK Top 50: all change please, but not just yet

    Given the natural conservatism of the legal market both in the UK and globally, when the leader of one of the UK's largest law firms describes the pace of change in the sector as "glacial" it's a definite sign that a dramatic move is long overdue.

  • August 31, 2014 |

    UK Top 50: all change please, but not just yet

    Given the natural conservatism of the legal market both in the UK and globally, when the leader of one of the UK's largest law firms describes the pace of change in the sector as "glacial" it's a definite sign that a dramatic move is long overdue.

  • August 31, 2014 |

    UK Top 50: leading firms put economic woes behind them as revenues hit £14bn high

    Revenue across the UK's 50 largest law firms soared to a new high of £14.4bn in 2013-14, with the group seemingly having put past economic uncertainty behind it to achieve a fourth consecutive year of fee income growth.

  • August 31, 2014 |

    UK Top 50: leading firms put economic woes behind them as revenues hit £14bn high

    Revenue across the UK's 50 largest law firms soared to a new high of £14.4bn in 2013-14, with the group seemingly having put past economic uncertainty behind it to achieve a fourth consecutive year of fee income growth.

  • August 01, 2013 |

    UK top 50 2012-13 – firm by firm

    The UK's top law firms have achieved a third consecutive year of growth despite the continued unsettled economy, with combined revenues for the 50 largest firms forcing their way through the £13bn mark.

  • August 01, 2013 |

    Mergers fuel growth in domestic market as national firms outpace top 50 rivals

    Nationally represented law firms have once again outpaced their City counterparts as consolidation among mid-tier firms continues to drive growth. Mergers and acquisitions involving top 50 firms across the UK helped push average revenue growth up to 12.3%, well ahead of the average growth of 6.9% for the top 50 as a whole and also up on last year's average growth of 9.4% for the same group. Expansive DWF posted by far the biggest increase as revenues climbed 84.5% to £188.2m, following a transformative year which included a string of mergers, most notably the February acquisition of Cobbetts – catapulting the firm 15 places up the UK top 50 to 18th.

  • August 01, 2013 |

    DWF, Kennedys and RPC shine as two thirds of top 50 see PEP fall over five years

    Two thirds of firms in the UK top 50 have seen profits per equity partner (PEP) fall over the past five years, according to research compiled by Legal Week. The figures show that only 16 firms in the top 50 have increased PEP since the 2007-08 financial year, compared with more than 30 that have seen profits slide. More than 20 firms have seen PEP fall by over 10% in the five-year period since the height of the credit crunch, with Field Fisher Waterhouse, Speechly Bircham and Trowers & Hamlins all seeing partner profits tumble by more than 40%.

  • August 01, 2013 |

    Partner numbers across top 50 grow 7% as equity partner ranks see more modest rise

    Partner numbers across the UK top 50 have grown almost 7% this year, as a number of significant mergers continue to drive headcount growth at leading law firms. Across the 2012-13 financial year there were an average of 10,115 partners working at the top 50 firms, up 6.9% from 9,458 the previous year. Following a spate of mergers, DWF saw the largest growth in partner numbers across the group, leaping from 152 to 285 over the year as a result of tie-ups with Biggart Baillie, Fishburns and Buller Jeffries as well as taking on a number of partners from now defunct Cobbetts.

  • August 01, 2013 |

    DLA stretches global rankings lead as mergers reshape legal hierarchy

    DLA Piper continued to expand its global business at a greater rate than the magic circle last year, according to Legal Week's global rankings, which account for revenues generated across both UK and international profit centres. Combined revenues for DLA's international and US partnerships grew by 9.9% to £1.54bn for 2012, 50.7% of which came from the international partnership, which includes UK revenues. Global lawyer headcount grew 13.9%, while partner numbers fell 2.7%. The results consolidate the firm's status at the pinnacle of the global revenue rankings for UK firms, ahead of second-placed Clifford Chance, which recorded a 2.5% fall in revenue to £1.27bn.

  • August 01, 2013 |

    2012-13 case studies: Macfarlanes

    Macfarlanes defied the depressed UK and European markets this year to record its second set of strong financial results in a row, with revenue up by 11.6% and profits per equity partner (PEP) increasing by 9.5% for 2012-13. Revenue at the top 30 firm climbed from £102.3m to £114.2m with PEP rising from £903,000 to £989,000 - within touching distance of the £1m landmark the firm achieved during the credit boom. The figures follow another successful performance in 2011-12, when revenue grew 7.9% and PEP was up 20.1%. However, Legal Week's five-year comparison shows that the firm is still rebuilding its profitability following the downturn, with PEP remaining 10% below the £1.1m achieved in 2007-08 and revenue up just 4%.

  • August 01, 2013 |

    2012-13 case studies: Freshfields

    Buoyed by the feelgood factor surrounding its sponsorship of the Olympic Games last summer, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has moved into second place by revenue in the Legal Week top 50, leapfrogging both Allen & Overy and Linklaters courtesy of a 7.2% hike in revenue to £1.22bn. It also posted a healthy increase in profits per equity partner (PEP) of 7.6% to £1.398m, widening the gap between arch-rival Linklaters, which managed a 5.9% increase in PEP to £1.313m.

  • August 01, 2013 |

    UK top 50 push combined revenues past £13bn as PEP growth falters

    The UK's top law firms have achieved a third consecutive year of growth despite the continued unsettled economy, with combined revenues for the 50 largest firms forcing their way through the £13bn mark. Legal Week's 2012-13 results show that total revenues across the top 50 law firms grew almost 5% on the previous financial year to hit £13.54bn, while average income growth across the group stands at 6.9%.

  • August 01, 2013 |

    2012-13 case studies: RPC

    RPC continued to defy the economic turndown in 2012-13 with its second consecutive year of double-digit revenue growth. Amid mixed results from top 50 rivals, RPC was a standout performer, posting a 7.5% increase in profits per equity partner (PEP) and a 21.8% hike in turnover, pushing it up seven places in the rankings to 42nd place. The firm's upward curve stems back to an aggressive five-year plan laid out in the wake of the 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers. The plan, which saw partners and staff unanimously commit to heavy investment, including international expansion, strategic recruitment and modernised infrastructure, has seen the firm's top line leap from £57.9m in 2007-08 to £82.1m, while PEP has grown by almost 25% from £301,000 to £373,000 over the same period.

  • August 01, 2013 |

    UK top 50 push combined revenues past £13bn as PEP growth falters

    The UK's top law firms have achieved a third consecutive year of growth despite the continued unsettled economy, with combined revenues for the 50 largest firms forcing their way through the £13bn mark. Legal Week's 2012-13 results show that total revenues across the top 50 law firms grew almost 5% on the previous financial year to hit £13.54bn, while average income growth across the group stands at 6.9%.

  • July 26, 2012 |

    DWF, Kennedys and Mishcons trump top 50 rivals with fastest five-year growth

    DWF, Kennedys and Mishcon de Reya have emerged as the fastest-growing firms in the UK top 50 over the past five years, according to research compiled by Legal Week.

  • July 26, 2012 |

    2011-12 case studies: Ashurst

    There is little doubt that Ashurst has been one of the worst-affected City players since the 2008-09 recession. The firm has been further weighed down in recent years by a protracted round of partner exits and a continued struggle to build upon the sizeable US structured finance practice it acquired in 2009.

  • July 26, 2012 |

    UK top 50 law firms drive profits back towards boom-time high

    The UK's top law firms have overcome continued uncertainty in the global economy to achieve a second consecutive year of growth, while top 50 firms push partner profits back towards a boom-time high.

  • July 26, 2012 |

    2011-12 case studies: Clifford Chance

    Clifford Chance's (CC) recovery picked up pace in 2011-12, holding its position as the UK's largest law firm in revenue terms. It reached turnover of £1.303bn for 2011-12, and saw profit per equity partner (PEP) rise 7% to £1.078m.

  • July 26, 2012 |

    UK top 50 law firms drive profits back towards boom-time high

    The UK's top law firms have overcome continued uncertainty in the global economy to achieve a second consecutive year of growth, while top 50 firms push partner profits back towards a boom-time high.

  • July 26, 2012 |

    2011-12 case studies: Mishcon de Reya

    Mishcon de Reya makes its debut into the top 50 this year after an impressive period of growth that has put it on track to beat its three-year revenue target by some margin. The firm's 19% turnover hike to £73.1m during 2011-12 puts it nearly £2m ahead of its original target of £71.5m for this point in time – two years into a three-year strategy setting out an £80m turnover target by 2013.

  • July 26, 2012 |

    Weightmans, Mishcons and Parabis enter UK top 50 for first time

    Legal Week's 2011-12 rankings of the UK's largest law firms by revenue see Weightmans, Mishcon de Reya and Parabis Group entering the table for the first time.

  • July 20, 2011 |

    UK top 50 2010-11: firm by firm

    The UK's top law firms have endured turbulent market conditions to achieve their best growth performance since 2008 with the top 50 expanding its revenues by 3.6% over the last financial year.

  • July 20, 2011 |

    DLA Piper tops rankings on global measure as emerging law groups reshape market

    DLA Piper tops a new ranking of the UK's largest law firms by turnover taking into account revenues generated across both UK and international profit centres during 2010-11. The firm's total revenues of £1.268bn against global profits per equity partner (PEP) of £735,000 mean that it heads Legal Week's new ranking, which includes full global revenues of UK law firms operating through both Swiss verein structures, like DLA, and formal alliances, such as Eversheds International and CMS Cameron McKenna.

  • July 20, 2011 |

    2010-11 case studies: BLP

    Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) saw the largest percentage increase in profits per equity partner (PEP) across the UK top 50 this year, with the firm attributing its 57.5% hike to continued investment throughout the recession. The firm posted PEP of £712,000 for 2010-11, up from £452,000 last year, against a 20% rise in turnover to £229m.

  • July 20, 2011 |

    2010-11 case studies: Gateley

    Gateley has shot into the 2010-11 UK top 50 rankings for the first time, buoyed by last year's acquisition of Halliwells' Manchester commercial practice. One of only two new entrants to this year's top 50 alongside Reynolds Porter Chamberlain, the Birmingham/Edinburgh-headquartered firm posted a turnover hike of 23% – the biggest percentage increase of any top 50 firm during 2010-11 – with fee income rising from £51.2m to £63m.

  • July 20, 2011 |

    2010-11 case studies: Freshfields

    Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer was the only magic circle firm to see profits per equity partner (PEP) fall during 2010-11, with PEP dipping by to £1.308m, down from £1.406m, while revenue stayed broadly static at £1.14bn. Despite the drop in profits, the firm remains second only to Slaughter and May as the most profitable firm in the UK top 50 and has also seen greater PEP growth over the last five years.

  • July 20, 2011 |

    2010-11 case studies: Hogan Lovells

    Hogan Lovells got off to a strong start in 2010 following the transatlantic merger between legacy Lovells and Hogan & Hartson that went live in May last year. Turnover at the combined firm – which maintains two separate profit pools – stood at £1.08bn for the 2010 calendar year, with profit per equity partner (PEP) rising by more than 10% to approximately £740,000.

  • July 20, 2011 |

    Nationals and regionals: Addleshaws sees financials fall as rest of top 10 holds steady

    Addleshaw Goddard has emerged as the only top 10 national or regional law firm to see a decline in both revenue and profits in 2010-11 – a year when the group mirrored the marginal increases in profits and turnover seen across the top 50 as a whole.

  • July 20, 2011 |

    UK top 50 law firms endure gloom to post best growth figures since 2008

    The UK's top law firms have endured turbulent market conditions to achieve their best growth performance since 2008 with the top 50 expanding its revenues by 3.6% over the last financial year. Legal Week's 2010-11 results show the UK top 50 increased its revenues from £11.89bn to £12.33bn – returning income across the group to almost exactly 2009 levels. The average revenue growth of top 50 law firms was 5.3%.

  • July 14, 2010 |

    UK law leaders see profits revival as revenues slide across the top 50

    The UK's top law firms have managed a major rebound in profitability this year despite the aftermath of the global recession handing the group its first collective fall in revenues in recent memory. Legal Week's 2009-10 results, the first comprehensive picture of the performance of the UK's top 50 law firms, shows revenues across the group fell by £461m, from £12.33bn in 2009 to £11.87bn.

  • July 14, 2010 |

    2009-10's standout firms: LG

    LG has staged a turnaround in this year's financial results, posting an increase in both turnover and profits per equity partner (PEP). Turnover at the London law firm saw a respectable increase of 7.7% to £64.9m compared to £60.3m in 2008-09 financial year.

  • July 14, 2010 |

    2009-10's standout firms: DWF

    DWF has stormed into the top 50 after significant UK expansion saw it achieve a 17% hike in turnover during 2009-10. The firm's revenue hit £71.5m over the last financial year, a 17% increase on its 2008-09 turnover of £61.1m. The firmwas also among the fastest-growing by profits per equity partner (PEP) with a 56.3% increase, from £213,000 to £333,000.

  • July 14, 2010 |

    UK top 50 2009-10: firm by firm

    The UK's top law firms have managed a major rebound in profitability this year despite the aftermath of the global recession handing the group its first collective fall in revenues in recent memory.

  • July 14, 2010 |

    Nationals firms post varied results for 2009-10 as 'big five' remain static

    National and regional firms have produced the most movement in the top 50 this year, with a number of practices seeing sizable fluctuations in revenue and profits. The big five national firms - DLA Piper, Eversheds, Pinsent Masons, Addleshaw Goddard and Hammonds - remained static on their 2008-09 positions in the rankings after experiencing slight declines in turnover.

  • July 14, 2010 |

    Asia takes centre stage as firms boost revenue in Eastern markets

    UK firms' footholds in Asia have proven their worth in this year's financial results with revenues from the region remaining consistently strong in their contribution to overall turnover. Clifford Chance (CC) in particular saw a notable contribution from its Asia arm, with revenues growing 21% on last year to £126m, up from £104m. The practice now makes up 10% of the firm's overall turnover, up from 8% in 2008-09.

  • July 14, 2010 |

    Insurance firms outpace rest of top 50 once more as revenues climb 8%

    Insurance firms have bucked the trend of the top 50 as a whole once again this year, with revenues growing by an average of 7.8% and profits per equity partner (PEP) climbing 2.7%. The group was the strongest performing among the ranked firms, being the only category aside from the mid-tier firms to experience turnover growth and far outpacing the all-firm average. Of the five insurance firms in the top 50, four saw a climb in rank in 2009-10.

  • July 14, 2010 |

    Light at the end of the the tunnel or storm clouds ahead - senior lawyers reflect on a volatile market

    Lawyers from top 50 firms assess the market over the last 12 months and make predictions for the year ahead...

  • July 14, 2010 |

    2009-10's standout firms: Allen & Overy

    In revenue terms, Allen & Overy (A&O) was the strongest performing of the magic circle firms this year, seeing revenue dip just 3.8% over the period compared to an average decline of 7.2% across the group. The magic circle firm saw profits per equity partner (PEP) increase 10% to £1.1bn, boosted in part by a 3.2% decrease in equity partner numbers, which have fallen from 370 to 358 over the last financial year in the wake of a major restructuring exercise.

  • July 30, 2009 |

    Top 50 case study: Norton Rose

    Norton Rose set itself apart from most of its top 10 City rivals over the last financial year after launching a bold initiative to avoid redundancies and hiking turnover by more than 5%. The firm posted a 5.7% increase in revenue to £314m against a 17.3% drop in profits per equity partner (PEP) to £517,000. The climb in turnover means the firm beat the average by revenue growth across the top 10 City firms, which was enough to take Norton Rose into the overall UK top 10 - knocking Ashurst into 11th place.

  • July 30, 2009 |

    National firms fall behind top 50 peers

    National firms have emerged as below-trend performers in the UK for a second year running, with reduced workflow resulting in widespread job cuts and plunging profitability in 2008-09. The top 10 national and regional firms saw turnover contract by 2.3% during the last financial year, compared with an increase of 10.4% in 2007-08, and revenue growth of just under 3% across the top 50 as a whole. Profits per equity partner (PEP) fell by 23.9%, against a marginal increase in PEP the previous year and a 17% drop across the top 50.

  • July 30, 2009 |

    Insurance specialists buck the trend to climb the table

    Firms in the insurance sector have bucked the downturn in the global economy to put in a strong performance in 2008-09. Insurance specialists Kennedys and Berrymans Lace Mawer have joined the top 50 after both reported revenue increases of more than 20%. Together with fellow insurance firms Holman Fenwick Willan, Barlow Lyde & Gilbert and Clyde & Co, the group significantly outperformed the top 50 as a whole.

  • July 30, 2009 |

    Twelve months in recession and more to come - top lawyers reflect on an uncertain market

    Top 50 leaders give their perspective on an extraordinary 12 months - and their expectations for the year ahead

  • July 30, 2009 |

    UK firms with strongholds on the continent come out ahead

    Continental Europe has proved an important international stronghold during the last financial year, with the firms heavily invested in the region seeing revenues inflated by the strength of the euro. The weakness of the pound against the euro and dollar demonstrated the importance of international spread, with Lovells joining the growing rank of firms including Linklaters and Clifford Chance (CC) making more than half of their revenue outside London.

  • July 30, 2009 |

    UK law leaders suffer PEP plunge but revenues hold steady

    The UK's top law firms have suffered a dramatic fall in profitability and a shrinking market in what has been confirmed as the worst trading conditions for the profession since the early 1990s.

  • July 29, 2009 |

    Top 50 case study: Clifford Chance

    These are turbulent times for Clifford Chance (CC), which this year lost its long-held title as the world's largest law firms by revenue after the firm was overtaken by Linklaters and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. Revenue fell 5% to £1.26bn and profits per equity partner fell 37% from £1.15m to £733,000, the sharpest fall among its peer group.

  • July 29, 2009 |

    Headcount holds level but set to fall in 2010

    Lawyer headcount has yet to drop across the top 50 despite a series of unprecedented job cuts as expansion at some firms offsets plunging headcount at others. Legal Week research shows there were 33,886 lawyers working in top 50 UK firms on 30 April 2009, excluding trainees and paralegals. This compares with 33,109 on the same date the previous year. Total staff numbers across the group fell by around 1,600 to 78,675.

  • July 29, 2009 |

    Mixed fortunes for £100m-plus City firms as profits fall by 23%

    Firms in the City-based £100m group have fallen further behind the magic circle over the last financial year. The 11 firms in the group, which include all of the City top 10 outside the magic circle as well as CMS Cameron McKenna, SJ Berwin, Bird & Bird, Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP), Denton Wilde Sapte and Nabarro, on average saw turnover drop by 2%, with profits per equity partner (PEP) down by just over 23%.

  • July 29, 2009 |

    Headcount holds level but set to fall in 2010

    Lawyer headcount has yet to drop across the top 50 despite a series of unprecedented job cuts as expansion at some firms offsets plunging headcount at others. Legal Week research shows there were 33,886 lawyers working in top 50 UK firms on 30 April 2009, excluding trainees and paralegals. This compares with 33,109 on the same date the previous year. Total staff numbers across the group fell by around 1,600 to 78,675.

  • July 29, 2009 |

    Editor's comment: Tough, less at the top

    Law firms' worlds really did change in 2008-09. It was the worst 12 months for major firms since the early 1990s, and far worse than any in the preceding decade. Profitability, having avoided any substantive fall across the top 50 for more than 15 years, fell by 17.3%. And while there was slight revenue growth, without the strong euro and dollar in real terms fee income fell by around 2%. Dramatic indeed. For some observers, this must have heralded the humbling of the City leaders that so recently rode the markets to global glory. There would be a pleasing symmetry to that. But, unfortunately for journalists, the business world rarely behaves according to clear narratives. Large City law firms certainly took their knocks during 08-09, including job cuts on an unprecedented scale. But in cold, hard business terms it was anything but a bust for the magic circle which, with the exception of Clifford Chance, had a strong year. The newly-emerged breed of global law firm faced its first real stress test and, unlike its banking counterparts, passed with flying colours. Perhaps that is because it was generally a good year for the larger firms; firms just below the magic circle were solid performers for the second year in a row as once-dismissed practices like Lovells and Norton Rose hit a confident stride.

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