LONDON – Top UK law firms have seen revenues jump in the decade
since the 2008 financial crisis, according to a new report by The
Analysis by The Lawyer UK200 report shows the top 200 firms
increased overall revenue by 73% between 2007 and 2017, from
£13.5 billion to £23.5 billion.
Meanwhile, the total number of people working at those firms rose
by 44%, and the number of partners grew by about 6,000.
Top equity partners also saw their profits soar to highs of £2.02
million, up from a high point of £1.62 million in 2007.
“The great reset of the profession that the financial crisis was
supposed to have provoked is largely mythical,” Catrin Griffiths,
editor of The Lawyer,
told the Financial Times. “Despite the growing threat of US
firms, most of the major UK law firms have flourished on the back
of a globalised London and they’ve been adept at seeking out new
markets,” she said.
Strong performances come despite a growing presence of
major US law firms in London, as well as a slowdown in mergers
and acquisitions following the crisis.
The top 100 firms also saw their net profits increase by 61%
over the decade. In 2015/16, the 100 largest UK law firms made
more than £20 billion in fees last year for the first time, up
from £16.9 billion in 2011/12.
But while turnover at Magic Circle firm Allen & Overy
increased by 71%, to £1.52 billion, Freshfields Bruckhaus
Deringer did less well (although still reported an increase,
taking inflation into account) over the decade, and some
mid-market firms saw profits decrease in profits.
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