Silver Circle

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The Silver Circle is a group of corporate law firms headquartered in London, United Kingdom which are each outside of the Magic Circle, and have a substantially lower turnover than the members of that group, but have an average profits per equity partner (PEP) and average revenue per lawyer (RPL) far above the UK average.[1][2][3] The term was first coined by The Lawyer magazine in 2005.


As defined by The Lawyer magazine, the Silver Circle comprises Ashurst, Berwin Leighton Paisner, Herbert Smith Freehills, King & Wood Mallesons SJ Berwin, Macfarlanes and Travers Smith.[1] Their 2012/13 turnover and profits per equity partner are shown below:

# Law firm Turnover (2012/13)[4] Profits per equity partner (2012/13)[4]
9 Herbert Smith Freehills £671m £784,000
13 Ashurst £323m £680,000
17 Berwin Leighton Paisner £233m £401,000
22 King & Wood Mallesons SJ Berwin £185m £565,000
29 Macfarlanes £114m £989,000
41 Travers Smith £86m £790,000

See also[edit]

  • Magic Circle, referring to the five leading UK-headquartered law firms;[5][6] also used to describe what are often perceived to be the top four Commercial Chambers at the Bar[7]
  • Big Five, referring to the five largest South African law firms.
  • Seven Sisters, referring to the seven Canadian law firms considered to be the top tier.
  • Big Six, referring to six Australian law firms perceived to be of the top tier.
  • White shoe firms or Charmed Circle, referring to law firms perceived to be the leading New York City law firms.
  • Big Five: the five largest Singapore law firms


  1. ^ a b "Ashurst, Herbies ride out tough year; BLP, Macfarlanes, SJ Berwin succumb". The Lawyer. 14 July 2008. Retrieved 25 October 2010. 
  2. ^ "Silver Circle". The Lawyer. 3 September 2007. Retrieved 25 October 2010. 
  3. ^ Fletcher, Martin (28 August 2005). "'Silver circle' firms upset the legal order". London: The Times. Retrieved 25 October 2010. 
  4. ^ a b
  5. ^ Fortado, Lindsay (8 July 2010). "Clifford Chance Regains Top U.K. Law Firm Spot as Revenue, Mergers Dwindle". Bloomberg. Retrieved 25 October 2010. 
  6. ^ "The Global 100: Magic Circle Firms Have the Magic Touch". The American Lawyer. 27 September 2007. Retrieved 25 October 2010. 
  7. ^ "Set for a fight". The Lawyer. 26 June 2000. Retrieved 25 October 2010.