Legal Business Blogs

Linklaters sees 2% profit decline as revenue falls short of the £2bn milestone

With financial reporting season in full swing, Linklaters is the latest Magic Circle firm to drop its financial results, reporting a 7% revenue increase from £1.8bn to £1.9bn, seeing it fall just short of the $2bn turnover barrier passed by both Allen & Overy and Clifford Chance recently.

Pre-tax profit is down by 2% to £854m from last year’s £872m, translating to a 5% decline in PEP from £1.87m to £1.78m.

Linklaters managing partner Paul Lewis said in a statement: ‘We’re pleased to have delivered a strong financial performance, despite a challenging high-inflation environment and ongoing geopolitical instability.’

He added: ‘Entering the new financial year we have seen a strong deal flow, particularly across energy & infrastructure, high-end M&A and from financial sponsors, notwithstanding the wider slowing of the global M&A market. The challenging economic environment has led to an increase in restructuring and insolvency matters and we have also seen an uptick in regulatory and criminal investigations as well as a rise in class actions, particularly in the tech sector.’

Linklaters reports that it has seen ‘significant growth’ in revenue from high-end M&A with top mandates that include advising Carrier Global Corporation on its acquisition of Viessmann Climate Solutions and HSBC on the sale of its Canadian banking business to Royal Bank of Canada.

Similarly, the firm also gives credit to the performance of its energy sector, with a particular focus on energy transition mandates that made up the majority of energy-related work over the last financial year. Whilst it is public knowledge that Links has struggled to make an impression on the US market, the addition of its energy and infrastructure team in the US has resulted in some mid-tier US mandates, including advising Actis on its new $500m Japanese renewables platform.

Beyond financials, the firm also reported that it had elected 41 new partners and 53 counsel in its latest promotion round, while meeting its 40% global gender diversity target for female partner promotions, and its 15% target for under-represented minority ethnic partners in new partner elections annually in the UK and US.

In the legal tech arena, the firm also reported that CreateIQ, its document automation and contract management platform, ‘grew at a rate of nearly 100% during FY2023 with over 100 digitised templates added, attracting over 300 institutions including major banks, asset managers, insurers and governments. ReportiQ, the firm’s next-generation due diligence reporting platform, ‘has now been used by Linklaters lawyers across 17 offices and external counsel in 21 countries to generate reports on €18bn worth of deals’.

Links is the third member of the Magic Circle to publish its financial results so far, with both A&O and Clifford Chance officially breaking the £2bn barrier. A&O’s revenue grew by 8% from £1.94bn to £2.1bn, while CC recorded a revenue increase of 5% from £1.969bn to £2.062bn.

With Freshfields the last of the four UK elite international firms to post its results, the picture so far is clearly one of modest revenue increases matched by a decline in profitability this year, as firms across the globe driven by transactional work struggle with the downturn in deals.