Linklaters overtakes rival Freshfields in revenue

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Jul 04, 2017
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Mammon update: Three prominent London law firms coughed up their financial figures yesterday, with most attention focusing on reports that one “magic circle” practice appears to have fallen behind another.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, the Anglo-German practice, reported that its annual revenue inched up by 0.3 per cent last year to £1.33 billion. Nonetheless, average earnings for senior equity partners rose by 5 per cent to £1.547 million, the first time that figure had broken the £1.5 million mark, according to The Lawyer magazine.

The publication went on to speculate that Freshfields is set to lose its position as the second largest magic circle player – in terms of annual turnover – to Linklaters, which reported revenue of £1.43 billion last week.

Both firms are still predicted to trail Clifford Chance at the top of the magic circle revenue tree. And they are all thought to lag behind DLA Piper, the transatlantic firm that has recently posted annual earnings of £1.62 billion.

Elsewhere in the cash till, Bird & Bird, the City of London technology and media specialist practice, announced annual revenue of nearly £316.8 million – a 5 per cent increase from the previous year, according to the website Legal Week.

Fellow Londoners Mishcon de Reya, the firm that played a crucial role in the Article 50 judicial review earlier this year, announced turnover of £149.4 million – an increase of 17 per cent, according to Legal Week.

And the national firm Shoosmiths revealed an annual turnover of £116.7 million, 9 per cent up on last year.

Banging the gavel … again

We revive our occasional gavel watch series to highlight yet another outfit that should know better than to employ American iconography when illustrating British legal reports.

This morning the spotlight of shame falls on the Government Legal Department, which published a photograph of a gavel in its annual report for this year, presumably in an effort to deflect readers’ attention from otherwise dry statistics.

But perhaps the Whitehall lawyers know something that has been kept secret from the rest of the legal profession, namely that the minority Conservative government is keen to import gavel use from the US. Perhaps just as Coca Cola has livened up our lunch times, a bit of gavel banging will perk up staid English courts.

Or perhaps the department’s graphic designers just need to have a lesson in British court procedures.

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