‘The Lawyer’ magazine’s survey of leading law firms, in association with American Lawyer, identifies shifting trends in legal markets. In the UK, the local firms were keeping pace with their American rivals.

Last year, there were 14 UK firms in The Global 100. This year there are 16, with UK regionals Pinsent Masons and Addleshaw Goddard making the cut. And that 16 does not even include Mayer Brown Rowe & Maw, Dechert, Jones Day, Reed Smith and Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Nicholson Graham, all of which cut major mergers with UK firms. The 16 UK-headquartered firms represent £5.924bn of fees, up 8.4 per cent from last year’s £5.467bn. That represents 29.4 per cent of The Global 100, compared with last year’s 18 per cent of the total revenues of £29.489bn.

When it comes to growing the revenues, UK firms also easily kept pace with US firms. In a global legal market that was pretty flat (total revenues were down just under 1 per cent), only seven firms made double-digit percentage increases in turnover. Five were from the UK – DLA, Herbert Smith, Linklaters, Simmons & Simmons and Slaughter and May. Only New York’s Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz outgunned them in terms of percentage increase, at 24 per cent.

Of the five new entries into The Global 100, two were Pinsents and Addleshaws, UK firms with little or no presence overseas. The only new US entry was Philadelphia- based Blank Rome, which scraped in at 100th place.

The other two new entries were both Australian – Allens Arthur Robinson (AAR) and Clayton Utz. In fact, Australia now has five representatives in The Global 100: AAR, Clayton Utz, Minter Ellison, Freehills and Mallesons Stephen Jacques. Together they turn over £795.2m, or 2.7 per cent of the total. For years, the Australian firms have been characterised by their snootier US and UK cousins as being too big and not profitable enough for global mergers. But Australian firms have been setting their sights on Asia. Their financial muscle and increasing visibility within The Global 100 will make them serious players in the coming decade.

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