Partners at Magic Circle law firms push rates up

HOURLY rates charged by partners at the UK’s elite law firms have soared to £700, according to new research.

An annual survey conducted by City costs lawyer, Jim Diamond, shows that rates charged by the top five Magic Circle law firms – Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Slaughter and May, and Linklaters – have bounced back to pre-recession levels.

The legal sector, according to Diamond’s research for The Lawyer magazine, last year saw the biggest drop in hourly rates ever recorded by the legal profession, when Magic Circle firms charged £400 an hour.

Meanwhile, the ten largest firms which rank below the Magic Circle, have also seen a sharp spike in hourly rates, as partners charge £600 an hour for their work.
Diamond notes that the smaller commercial firms in the UK maintained charge out rates for a second consecutive year in a row.