It was a prized scalp. In December, Clifford Chance (CC) became the first Magic Circle player to fall foul of the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), when the firm and its disputes partner Alex Panayides were each fined £50,000 for their role in the well-documented Excalibur professional negligence saga.
It was a highly-symbolic move. But the £50,000 penalty is small beer relative to CC’s global revenues, and to the fines received by White & Case and Locke Lord in 2017. US firm Locke Lord, with a small City operation, was ordered to pay a record £500,000.