While the big money from Big Law in London has largely focused on the increased revenue for Magic Circle firms and their US-based counterparts, Macfarlanes has come through as a contender for one of the top-earning law firms in the country.
Already renowned for representing wealthy individuals and companies, the firm is generating its own substantial wealth with an almost 20 per cent increase in partner pay in the past year, raising to almost £2.5 million.
The firm’s revenues for the 2020-21 year was up by 16.4 per cent to £303.7 million, placing it as possibly the second most profitable firm in London after Slaughter and May, whose numbers are not reported.
The average pay for equity partners at Macfarlanes is £2.48 million each.
Unlike Clifford Chance, with over 3300 lawyers globally, Macfarlanes is relatively small with just over 300 lawyers working from two offices. A firm that does not profess to be ‘all things to all people’ it has nonetheless built a major practice, including EU law and tax and corporate work. Its work for corporates and high net worth individuals and its simple but flexible structure has clearly made it a major profit star among London law firms.
The firms has also increased its pay to associates to bring it in line with the ‘Cravath Scale’ used by its US competitors which has increased for some firms to as much as £175,000. Macfarlanes has lifted its pay for newly qualified lawyers to align it with what competitors are paying.
Salaries for its newly qualified solicitors will increase to £107,500, six months after it had increased the figure to £100,000.
Macfarlanes has two offices located in London and Brussels and also had one of the highest lifts in profits per equity partner in 2021 with a 9.2 per cent increase to £2 million, so the latest increase continues the firm’s high-revenue, high-profit trend.