Oh Dear. Partner Pay At Clifford Chance Has ‘Stagnated’ At £2 Million

Oh Dear. Partner Pay At Clifford Chance Has 'Stagnated' At £2 Million

The Multi-Million Pound Big Law Partner Pay Problem

Clifford Chance is one of the largest law firms in the world, but it has a partner problem with The Times reporting that partners’ pay stagnated at an average of £2 million each.

The firm has reportedly found itself caught between rising revenue and inflationary pressures, resulting in average pay for full equity partners failing to surpass the previous year’s record-breaking figure.

It is an issue faced by other major big law firms that have faced increased pressure upon revenues amid a slowing transactional market.

Despite this, Clifford Chance remains a major law firm earner recorded its eighth consecutive year of revenue growth, reaching a landmark revenue of £2.06 billion, a 5 percent increase from the previous financial year. Pre-tax profit experienced a slight dip, falling by £2 million to £781 million.

Charles Adams, the firm’s global managing partner, acknowledged that inflationary pressures and a subdued mergers market had a negative impact on the bottom line.

While the firm has no immediate plans to follow the footsteps of some American rivals by making redundancies, they remain cautious about the overall economic environment. Adams emphasized that the drop in profit over the past year was minimal, equivalent to only 0.002 percent, and expressed confidence despite economic uncertainty and challenges.

Increased Litigation Work

One significant factor contributing to Clifford Chance’s revenue growth was its global litigation and dispute resolution practice, which saw increased demand due to geopolitical disruption and a resurgence in enforcement activity by regulators and criminal prosecution agencies following the subsiding of the coronavirus pandemic.

Also, the firm’s tax, pensions, and employment departments also achieved revenue increases.

However, rising costs, particularly in the form of a pay war for junior lawyers in the City, impacted the firm’s profits. This pay war that LawFuel has previously reported was fueled by American practices with offices in London, and Clifford Chance responded by offering newly qualified solicitors starting salaries of £120,000.

Clifford Chance has been expanding its presence in the United States, including the recent opening of an office in Houston, Texas. The firm is not alone in seeking growth opportunities across the Atlantic, as other magic circle firms have also engaged in potential merger deals with American counterparts.

Despite economic challenges, Clifford Chance remains resilient and focused on further growth. The firm continues to closely monitor the economic environment but currently has no plans to implement specific redundancy programs.

Other law firms have faced similar economic challenges, with some American firms cutting staff to navigate the uncertain conditions.

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