Freshfields Leads Magic Circle in UK Lawyer Pay

Freshfields Leads Magic Circle in UK Lawyer Pay

London Legal Pay Rates

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has emerged as the highest-paying law firm among its “magic circle” counterparts, with full equity partners earning an average of £2.09 million.

The firm’s partners experienced a modest 1 percent increase in pay last year, securing their position ahead of Clifford Chance, which disclosed an average partner pay of £2 million.

Freshfields reported a notable 8 percent growth in revenue last year, reaching £1.84 billion, marking the seventh consecutive year of revenue expansion. However, it still found itself at the lower end of the elite magic circle firms. Allen & Overy topped the list with a turnover of £2.1 billion, slightly ahead of Clifford Chance’s £2.06 billion.

Other firms have also increased their pay, as we reported with Pinsent Masons’ increases recently.

Linklaters’ annual revenue of £1.9 billion has intensified competition between the two firms, considered arch-rivals by analysts.

City law firms have been grappling with inflationary pressures, including rising staff costs and soaring starting pay for junior lawyers, impacting overall profits as LawFuel has previously reported.

Freshfields Leads Magic Circle in UK Lawyer Pay

Freshfields’ senior partner, Georgia Dawson (left) expressed the firm’s focus on targeting clients in the United States as part of its global growth strategy.

In a similar vein, Allen & Overy recently announced its intention to merge with Wall Street practice Shearman & Sterling.

The law firm attributed its rising revenue to recent international deals, such as advising UBS on its acquisition of Credit Suisse, and its involvement in significant disputes, including defending Google in a competition claim. It is also providing legal counsel to Volkswagen in its global emissions litigation, currently taking place across multiple jurisdictions.

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Rick van Aerssen, 52, the firm’s managing partner, said the forthcoming financial report would be the last publicly released. From next year onwards, all legally required financial information would be communicated via a notice with Companies House.

He emphasized that the true measure of the firm’s progress lies in the quality of its business ventures and the clients it attracts worldwide. This subtle criticism comes amidst the annual frenzy surrounding the reporting of magic circle law firm financial figures.

Slaughter and May, the fifth member of the magic circle group, maintains a more traditional partnership model and is not obligated to publish a financial statement. Widely considered the wealthiest in the magic circle, partners at Slaughter and May are estimated to earn an average of approximately £3 million each.

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