Profits per partner hit a record £1,160,000 in one top City law firm, Slaughter and May, while the average profit across all 6,557 partners in the top 100 law firms reached £537,322.
Top Five firms in terms of turnover were: Clifford Chance, Linklaters, Freshfields, Allen & Overy and Lovells.
The year also saw the arrival of the world’s first £1 billion law firm — Clifford Chance, which billed £1.030 billion in legal fees during 2006.
The huge figures indicate the massive earnings to be made among commercial law firms from handling mergers, acquisitions and tax matters for company clients.
They show that while their legal colleagues doing criminal and family legal aid work manage on far less, the corporate lawyers have never had it so good.
Law firm billings have steadily risen over the past nine years from £4.34 billion in 1997 to a “staggering” £10.8 billion in 2006, the survey finds.
Jim Baxter, Editor of Legal Business, the magazine that ran the survey, said: “The firms generated £10.8 billion revenue, with 6,557 partners sharing £3.5 billion of profit. For many, the take-home pay package will be simply eye-watering.”