Linklaters points to US revenue growth as turnover climbs 10% to hit £2.1bn

Performance comes in landmark year for UK Magic Circle as A&O Shearman merger beds down
Portrait of Paul Lewis, Linklaters' new managing partner

Paul Lewis: ‘Exceptional year’

Linklaters has posted a strong set of financial results, with revenue climbing 10% to break through the £2bn mark for the first time, reaching £2.1bn.

Its record revenue figure was matched by its highest-ever pre-tax profit of £942m, up by 10.3%. That translated into an 8% increase in its profit per equity partner (PEP), moving it back up to the £1.9k figure it recorded in 2022.

The UK Magic Circle firm pointed to record results in the US – where it said revenue for its financial year ending on 30 April was up by 24% – and the UK.

Both those metrics have added significance this year, given arch-rival Allen & Overy’s merger with New York’s Shearman & Sterling to create A&O Shearman, which went live in May, and a war for senior talent in London which notably saw Paul Weiss hire four Linklaters partners between last September and this April as it set out to build a market-leading private equity team at pace.

Firmwide managing partner Paul Lewis said: “It’s been an exceptional year with record financial results and revenues exceeding £2bn for the first time. We’ve seen a strong performance across the firm, with M&A, complex restructurings, contentious mandates and energy transition-linked projects the biggest drivers of growth.”

Linklaters said it had been at the “forefront of the M&A market bounce back in 2024”, which includes this week's mandate advising Britvic on its £3.3bn acquisition by Carlsberg and, in April, advising Mondi on its proposed £5.14bn all-share offer to buy smaller FTSE 100 rival DS Smith.

The firm also pointed to its contentious work, stating that its litigation, arbitration and investigations division had also had a record year. High-profile cases have included advising various Telefonica entities in a blockbuster competition case that saw a High Court judge in November dismiss claims an array of telecom companies were behind the 2014 collapse of mobile phone retailer Phones 4U.

Linklaters is also representing Visa in the closely watched multi-billion-pound interchange fee litigation that is set to run and run.

Striking a bullish note for the year ahead, Lewis said: “With markets now bouncing back, particularly on the public M&A front, our teams have had a very busy start to the year, acting on lots of high-profile roles in the market. We’ll continue to invest to make sure we deliver the best service for our clients on their biggest transactions and most complex legal matters in key jurisdictions.” 

According to publicly-available data tracked by Pirical, fee-earner headcount at its two US offices in New York and Washington DC grew by 10% during the last financial year. Linklaters’ undoubted highlight in terms of laterals was its January hire of Shearman & Sterling’s global co-managing partner George Casey in New York as part of a six-strong M&A team which it hailed at the time as a “transformational step” in its US growth strategy.  

However, its US partner count of 51 remains substantially smaller than that of rivals Freshfields Bruckhaus Derigner (96) and Clifford Chance (115), according to Pirical. Leading the Magic Circle pack by a large margin, meanwhile, is A&O Shearman with 209 partners in the US thanks to its merger.

Linklaters is the first Magic Circle UK firm to post its financial results, with A&O Shearman due to report A&O’s legacy results in the coming days along with Clifford Chance. Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, however, said last year that it would no longer take part in the annual UK results reporting season.

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