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Freshfields partner profits push past £2 million

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Strong performance despite “tightening market conditions”

Magic Circle firm Freshfields has reported a 10% uptick in revenues in its latest financial results.

This takes the firm’s revenues for the year ending 30 April 2022 to £1.7 billion, its sixth consecutive year of growth. Profit per equity partner (PEP) has also risen to £2.07 million, up from £1.91 million.

Despite “tightening market conditions globally”, Rick van Aerssen, Freshfields’ managing partner, considered this year’s financials a “robust set of results for the firm, reflecting our continued commitment to deliver for clients around the world”.

He added: “Our achievements over the past 12 months are testament to the dedication of colleagues across our global network, who continue to set a high bar for advisory work in Freshfields’ core areas of litigation, M&A and regulatory. We look forward to pushing on further this year to meet the strategic goals we’ve set across our core markets, and our ongoing expansion in growth markets such as the U.S.”.

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The firm revealed that the headcount in their Silicon Valley office, launched in 2020, has doubled. Freshfields also appointed capital markets lawyer Sarah K. Solum as its new US Managing Partner in August 2021. The firm did not provide a breakdown of the profits per region.

Freshfields results follow Clifford Chance and Allen & Overy who both recorded partner profits around the £2 million mark. A&O has seen particular success in the US that made up over 50% of its revenue growth.

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37 Comments

Impressed

Freshfields are doing it right, proving you can increase salaries and partner profits all at the same time if you have a good growth strategy.

Dookie

Agreed. Links and A&O just aren’t who they once were. Guess it shows how long they simply relied on that ‘Magic circle’ marketing. Whether you like it or not, salary is and always has been a marker of prestige-now Bakers and HSF pay more…

Anon

Go back to the library. Why do students think the magic circle tag revolves around nq salaries on this site. Beyond embarrassing and you have self inflated egos of what you bring to firms. Noone is moving firms for 5k before tax. Its an irrelevant amount of money when you’re on 100k plus

Anon's Dad

But their prestige beyond the salary element is clearly waning. US and even SC firms are becoming fiercely competitive, more so than ever before.

But sure, Anon, if the magic circle tag makes you happy then good for you.

A&O 1PQE

A&O/Links should learn. Paying your employees market rate will pay off – we can see this through CC’s PEP too.

This gap between CC/FF and A&O/Links will only get wider as time goes on and more associates leave to do the exact same job for more money.

I have left out Slaughters because let’s be honest – who knows what’s even going on over there.

A&O 3PQE

A&O is investing into US partners and associates (paying them Cravath rates). In case you were wondering why they are not increasing salaries in London. Admirable long-term strategy though may it mean juniors and mid-levels in London not sticking around.

Cravath, Swag & More LLP 😎

Freshfields and Clifford Chance also pay Cravath scale in the US.

Mid-level

All major UK firms pay Cravath scale salaries to their US associates, and have done for years.

And CC and Freshfields already have a semi-respectable presence in The States *compared to all other UK firms.* CC is something like top 30 in the Vault rankings and is well acknowledged in Chambers for projects and asset finance-y stuff. Freshies has their tech/corporate practice over there as well.

A&O does have a good strategy that is clearly working, but let’s not pretend you’re doing anything except playing catchup whilst not meeting the market levels of pay.

*shrugs*

Anonymous

Have you seen the growth at Freshfields US or you have a resit to care about fresher!

Anon

These figures are for the year 2021-22, a year in which LL were the first MC firm to increase NQ salaries beyond the £100k mark…

Anon

RE Slaughters – “nobody knows exactly what Slaughters’ PEP is but estimates put the figure at somewhere between £2 million and £3.1 million” from an earlier LC post. They just don’t think pay is the be all and end all.

Magic who?

Honestly I think we need to get rid of the whole “magic circle appeal” when you have firms such as HSF earning more the supposed magic circle elite..

Anonymous

Welcome to the club, take a seat

Anonymous

CC thought they had it topped at 2.04…

here comes

FF with 2.07…
+ bigger US offering

FF was the first firm too to push the salary for NQ to 125, which CC kept up with

top dog of the MC.

Speculator

Rumours that NRF profits are up to 1.1m is this true ?

NRF Grad WRECK

Even if it was, NQs and juniors won’t see any of it I can assure you of that.

Kirkland NQ

Cute.

Brick Court Junior Tenant

A bit like your salary

Anonymous

Salaries for qualified lawyers but definitely not for non lawyers and paralegals. Seriously underpaid it’s embarrassing.

Anon

Lawyers bring in all the money at law firms so obviously they’re the best paid. If you work in a non fee earning role and want better pay need to move outside law and into a corporate.

Howard

YoY inflation is gonna reach 12% in the Autumn. Things aren’t as easy as “move somewhere else”. Have some respect.

Interested

Can somebody give me a genuine breakdown of working culture at FF?

Average start and finish times etc.

Khaki Chinos

Wake up, dress like a posh boy/girl, travel in from Daddy’s spare London flat, work a bit, drink with other posh girls/boys, go home and when possible work from home from Daddy’s country house or villa.

C

That implies a certain demographic..

FBD person

Depends on the team. My intake was 50%+ Oxbridge. Certain teams still all wear suits to work and can be very toxic with the approach to work. Others are much better… Assume it’s like that at every firm to be fair.

V

What practice areas are easier to move after qualifying compared to others?

And which practice area is easiest to do work wise?

Anon

Useless questions.

And in any case, you’re better off asking questions about specific practice areas to actual lawyers or recruiters, not the LC comment section.

Anonymousse

The sort of people who ask that latter question are not the sort of people who succeed in *any* practice area in commercial law.

Here ya go

The easiest work is Corporate. If you aren’t interested in anything and/or aren’t very bright, you can just do Corporate and still survive fine.

Pepe

P/E is where the dullest hour-grunts go to fill out templates and grind through DD. They talk about “deals” when everyone knows they are just glorified administrative assistants.

Priest

In terms of difficulties, I’d say tax and restructuring are probably the most technically complex areas and you actually need to learn about the law. Banking and PE/ M&A are the easiest to survive (plus lucrative). Litigation is only fun if you’re a barrister.

Anon

Harsh on litigation. I think it depends a bit on the firm. Lit at one of the giant disputes shops like HSF, HogLove or FBD is awful. Nothing goes to trial, cases are enormous and juniors do mindless disclosure monkey work until they are SAs. I actually think smaller and less storied shops are better for disputes practitioners. Certainly, there is less prestige but there is more variety (clients, types of disputes etc) at a shop like Quinn, even CMS etc or one of the boutiques. Even slaughters where disputes is expressly a “corporate support function” is better for disputes as it’s just smaller so one works across
more cases. The outcome is Significant responsibility, many more cases and not drowning in disclosure. But yes, Corporate is for thickos by and large (j/k)

Fox Lover

As a levfin associate at a US shop I disagree that finance is the “easiest to survive”. While the area of law isn’t very technical our line of work requires superb organisational skills and the pressure is consistently intense. Most importantly we generate enormous fees.

Restructuring is arguably the hardest area which you should avoid if you want an easy ride. It’s intellectually challenging, and is awfully cyclical ie. deadly quiet or 24/7 busy for 6 months.

For brainless yet consistent work disputes at a top end firm is good. You can literally do disclosure document review work for 5 years without ever attending a hearing even as a notetaker. Very few in-house roles for litigator though.

FBD Asso

See you all at 21’s

The Bank

If you are an associate at A&O sitting there accepting your frozen salary while PEP rises then you, my friend, are a loser.

I thought

I thought finance is easiest with the exception of securitisation?

Yup

Slaughters are at 3.2m

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