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The firm has continued to see growth across key metrics, but at slower rates than in recent years.

By Hannah Roberts | July 02, 2019 at 08:58 AM

Clifford Chance is the first Magic Circle firm to announce its financial results for 2018/19, with both revenue and profits per equity partner (PEP) growth both hitting record highs.

However, PEP growth at the firm was much smaller than in previous years, increasing by just 1% to hit £1.62 million. CC reported PEP growth of 16% last year.

Its revenue growth was also slightly smaller than last year, increasing 4.3% to £1.69 billion.

Of that, 13% is from the firm’s Americas region, which pulled in £226 million. Asia Pacific also grew its revenues by 10% last year to £307 million, with the region accounting for 18% of global revenues.

U.K. revenues, meanwhile, which account for around a third of the business, grew by 3% to £556 million. Continental Europe accounts for another third and saw hit revenues of £551 million.

Global managing partner Matthew Layton told Legal Week that the firm has made several significant investments in technology which have caused slower growth.

He said that the firm needed to make investments in certain areas to keep up with recent trends, such as the rise in popularity of e-billing and increasing requirements for data management, and client demands.

He added: “I am really pleased that profit has continued to grow off the back of three strong years. We did see costs rise last year as we made important investments in the future of the firm to meet client expectations and to drive our strategy forward.

“This has included bringing in new talent, driving our Innovation and Best Delivery strategy, and ensuring our core systems and processes are optimised for the fast-changing operational environment. These are important investments and I expect them to support our future revenue and profit growth, and to ensure we continue to lead the market.”

Key mandates for the firm this year include advising Autonomy founder Mike Lynch in connection with the HP and Autonomy civil fraud trail, acting for the government on the insolvency of British Steel, advising pharma company Pfizer on its consumer healthcare joint venture with GlaxoSmithKline.

The firm is also set to continue its focus on diversity and inclusion, which Layton said was a priority for the firm going forward.

Earlier this year, the firm hired equalities campaigner Tiernan Brady who had been a leading figure in the successful marriage equality campaigns in Ireland and Australia.

Last year, the firm hired Jeroen Plink as its new CEO of Clifford Chance Applied Solutions, a regulatory technology platform that sits separately to the main firm but falls under its Best Delivery and Innovation framework.

The firm now has Best Delivery Hubs – which aim to improve client services via legal technology – across six bases: Dubai, Frankfurt, New York, Paris, London (including three practice-focused hubs) and Singapore.

Layton said that while the firm has no immediate plans to open new hubs, the goal now is to “scale them up”. He added: “We’re looking to increase the number of project managers and we’re looking to embed skills and tech we’ve been working with across the different areas of the business.”

He added that the firm’s Newcastle low-cost legal services centre is now fully integrated into the firm. The centre was formerly the legal services arm of collapsed construction giant Carillion.