Linklaters revenue edges up 2% fuelling 10% jump in PEP

Performance accelerates through Covid-19 but growth lags 5% achieved by two of its closest rivals

Linklaters has posted at 2.1% increase in revenue to £1,674m with profit per equity partner (PEP) jumping by 9.9% to £1.773m.

The results – the last to be posted by the UK’s four global Magic Circle firms – were described as “very strong” by newly installed firmwide managing partner Paul Lewis.

They put the firm a percentage point ahead of Clifford Chance in terms of revenue growth achieved, but behind Allen & Overy (A&O) and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, which both posted growth of 5% (see table). 

Pre-tax profit, meanwhile, climbed by 12.2% to £815.3m. Linklaters becomes the latest of a string of top law firms on both sides of the Atlantic to improve its financial performance during the Covid-19 pandemic: revenue edged up by 1.7% last year while PEP declined by 5.1%.

However, a stronger set of results by A&O has allowed it to extend its lead in revenue terms, after it overtook Linklaters last year.

  Rev (£m) % Change PEP (£k) % Change
Clifford Chance 1,828 1% 1,850k 9%
Allen & Overy 1,770 5% 1,900k 17%
Linklaters 1,674 2.1% 1,773k 9.9%
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer 1,590 5% 1,910k 5%

“The world is evolving at pace, catalysed by the effects of the pandemic,” said Lewis, who took over from Gideon Moore as managing partner last month,

“Climate, technology and data are just some of the globe-spanning topics that will define the next decade and beyond. Leading businesses need advice from a leading global law firm, capable of providing top quality service consistently across multiple jurisdictions. We are committed to ensuring that Linklaters continues to be that firm.”

Strategic highlights for the firm over the last year include the election of its first female senior partner, corporate partner Aedamar Comiskey, which led to a more comprehensive changing of the guard after Moore decided to stand down early.

There have also been a series of initiatives to improve the firm's ESG credentials, including the launch of a race action plan last October.

And last week the firm unveiled a new web-based platform to automate the verification of public-facing documents when working on M&A deals and other transactions, the first major project delivered by its emerging legaltech team.

While it continued to invest in its US arm, including with the launch of a US data solutions, cyber and privacy practice in May, it is yet to emulate Freshfields and Allen & Overy in opening West Coast offices to target the region’s burgeoning tech market.

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