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Clifford Chance’s partner profits top £2 million for first time

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MC player reports positive numbers despite “signs of a slowdown in some markets”

Clifford Chance has reported 8% uptick in revenues and pushed average profit per equity partner (PEP) above £2 million for the first time.

The positive numbers come despite what Charles Adams, the firm’s newly-installed global managing partner, described as “signs of a slowdown in some markets”.

The Magic Circle player saw revenues hit £1.96 billion for the year ended 30 April 2022, with its UK operations accounting for over a third of this at £687 million. Partner profits climbed 9% to £789 million while PEP hit £2.04 million, marking an increase of 10% on the previous year.

CC went on to cite a combination of “robust revenues, prudent cost management and increased emphasis on financial and commercial discipline” for ending the financial year with £376 million in cash and no net borrowings.

Adams, who took over the top role from Matthew Layton on 1 May, said:

“Our team has delivered another outstanding year of results. We are seeing the positive outcome of our long-term strategic focus to diversify our client base, continually increase our market share and grow in priority geographies such as the Americas. These results are a testament to Matthew Layton’s leadership as the previous Global Managing Partner, as well as the energy, dedication, teamwork and phenomenal expertise of all our colleagues. It is because of this that, profit per equity partner increased by 10% year on year to in excess of £2m.”

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The Milan-based banking and finance specialist continued: “Clients are at the heart of everything we do. To serve them better, we continue to prioritise our global focus. Despite geopolitical uncertainty and signs of a slowdown in some markets, all our regions grew in income and net profit”.

Clifford Chance is only the second MC outfit to go public with its results so far. Last week Allen & Overy recorded a 3% bump in PEP to £1.95 million and 10% increase in revenues £1.94 billion, thanks in part to what the firm described as “exceptional” growth in the US.

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22 Comments

Disgruntled MC Associate

Okay… I’m going to go ahead and say it – nobody gives a flying fuck. If you really use PEP metrics as an indicator of anything other than yet another arbitrary metric firms use to distinguish themselves as being “mArKeT lEaDiNg”, then you have lost touch with reality.

And yes, I am bitter/fed up with the industry and “cUlTuRe”

(43)(15)

We feel for you

Sorry to hear the partnership run didn’t work out for you.

(30)(24)

Macfarlanes

Welcome, come take a seat

(33)(3)

Anon

Barely any seats that’s why PEP is so high there.

(51)(8)

Anon

Why is Travers not as high then. Or Mischon. Similar clients, international strategy, and practice areas and yet Macs trumps them both

(14)(3)

Tom

Wow. Just wow. And to think there were people asking just a few days ago whether the Magic Circle had lost its magic! £2m PEP is a phenomenal achievement for the firm and everyone at the firm should be congratulated.

(1)(33)

Tom

Wow. Just wow. And to think there were people asking just a few days ago whether the Magic Circle had lost its magic! £2m PEP is a phenomenal achievement for the firm and everyone at the firm should be congratulated.

(5)(35)

Lol

Mishcon is not there level. Please lol

(9)(8)

Concerned

Learn to spell

(7)(1)

US NQ

CC is unquestionably the best of MC, but far inferior to elite US paying £160k NQ and £300m 5PQE. Just saying.

(11)(47)

Lol what

So they’re simply better because they pay more? That’s your metric?

(10)(3)

US Associate

Lol. Are you sure you have qualified yet? Then again, you probably have. Our office is stuffed with distinctly average individuals from CC who have gained a reputation for having more arrogance than actual ability. Combine CC with Oxbridge, and you get a truly insufferable combination of mediocrity and inflated ego.

Spoken as ex-CC and ex-Oxbridge myself.

(25)(8)

Casual Pay War Enjoyer

Alright fresher, guess you met grad rec at your careers fair.

(6)(0)

Anonymous

lmao. and Freshfields? smh

(1)(0)

James

Not sure what you’re on about. Freshies and Links are both about to post double-digit profit increases and surpass CC.

(4)(2)

Lawyer to PE

Did you say £300 m(million) for a 5 year PQE

(1)(0)

Impressive growth and strategy

Not that I’d expect serious discussion in the comments but, for everyone complaining about MC complacency etc, the structural changes outlined in the results are pretty remarkable.

Since 2015, work for banks has declined from 38% to 27% of overall revenues, with a corresponding increase in work for financial sponsors from 26% to 36%.

In 2015 you could rightly criticise MC firms for an over-reliance on (banking) panel work, and spreading themselves too thinly, but CC has quite clearly reoriented it’s strategy to focus on the growth in PE.

This is in contrast to Links which has all but stagnated strategy-wise and A&O which is stupidly trying to break the US market rather than (lucratively) focussing on EMEA PE work.

If CC begins to trim down the fat on some of the superfluous practices and offices, then it could really begin competing on profitability with some of the US shops within the next 5 years.

(18)(2)

🤡

Get back in your box fresher. A&O has grown massively and Links has made a similar reorientation towards sponsors.

(7)(13)

Anon

PE/corporate work will be worth zilch if we hit another full blown recession. The whole strength of MC is in having full service practices that can weather all cycles of the economy.

(15)(0)

abc

kirkland lambo bloke probably too busy buying a bugatti with his 2 mill spare change from last year. we miss u here mate

(5)(5)

anon

A&O – revenue 1.94b, profit 900 m, PEP 1.95m

CC – revenue 1.96b, profits 789m, PEP 2.04m

This simply means that CC is much more stingy in handing our equity partnerships than A&O, and doesn’t mean that CC is necessarily performing better than A&O

(16)(3)

Someone

One would expect those profits to be so high when the firm pays £22k per year to their paralegal team. For context, working the same hours at Tesco would see you earn 19.5k per year. Embarrassing to say the least!

-Ex CC paralegal

(0)(0)

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