LB100: The Top 25 – The world turned upside down

The predicted comeback year for the UK legal elite instead turned industry trends and conventional wisdom on their head. Legal Business jumps down the rabbit hole and tries to make sense of it all.

‘Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!’ The Red Queen, Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass


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LB100: The Second Quartile – The first shall be last…

The City’s mid-tiers defied the critics to achieve market-leading pace through 2015, cementing the gains of recent years. How big an upset can the tortoises deliver?

There are a few simple ideas that define the pecking order in the UK legal industry. The big boys are international, materially larger than the tiers below and two to three times as profitable as their mid-pack cousins.

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LB100: The Second 50 – More or less

Specialist practices and focused City firms in the second 50 thrived in what remained an uncertain market.

The second 50 is a hard place for any law firm without a strong claim on their chosen patch. Overall this section of the market saw a flat year despite the support of a relatively upbeat domestic economy and surging property market.

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LB100: The Second 50 – The Lion & the Unicorn

Regional firms are experiencing mixed fortunes. Can they take advantage of a less London-focused client base?

Regional and national firms dominate the second half of the Legal Business 100 (LB100), but typically they do not enjoy the same success as the London-based firms that also occupy the lower end of the table. This year, 32 firms ranked 51-100 are regional or national law firms based outside London, totalling £1.2bn in revenue from 6,308 fee-earners.

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LB100 2015: Methodology and notes


The firms that appear in the Legal Business 100 (LB100) are the top 100 firms in the UK, ranked by gross fee income generated over the financial year 2014/15 – usually 1 May 2014 to 30 April 2015. We call these the 2015 results. Where firms have identical fee incomes, the firms are ranked alphabetically.


An overwhelming majority of firms that appear in the LB100 co-operate fully with its compilation (see ‘Transparency’, right) by providing our reporters with the required information. A limited number of firms choose not to co-operate officially with our data collection process and in these circumstances we rely on figures given to us by trusted but anonymous sources. Continue reading “LB100 2015: Methodology and notes”

Case study: Allen & Overy

Amid a challenging year for London’s top firms, Allen & Overy (A&O) managed to hit its stride with revenue growth of 4% to £1.28bn, while profits per equity partner (PEP) came in at £1.21m, a rise of 8%.

The result was significantly ahead of A&O’s London peers, which have also seen their sterling results impacted by weakness in the euro and the inroads of US law firms in City deal work (in constant currency, A&O estimates its revenue growth at 8%). Continue reading “Case study: Allen & Overy”