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Fee income at top legal firms dives

INCOME at the UK’s top ten law firms plunged more than 10.5 per cent in their second quarter (Q2), compared with the previous year, new figures show.

The poor results for 2009 Q2 were reflected across the industry, with the top 100 firms dropping 5.7 per cent. Firms including Allen & Overy and Linklaters reported declining revenues at the October half-year point.

The reduction in fee income represents a significant reversal in fortunes for the industry. In 2008 the top ten firms saw an 11.1 per cent increase in revenues and the top 100 grew by 5.8 per cent. The survey from business advisory firm Deloitte shows a reduction in total fee earners after the top 10 firms shed 6.9 per cent of staff and the top 100 3.5 per cent.

Deloitte associate partner Jeremy Black said any drop in the fourth quarter is unlikely to be so steep.