Magic Circle (law firms)
The Magic Circle is an informal term for what are generally considered the five leading law firms headquartered in the United Kingdom, and the four or five leading London-based commercial barristers' chambers.
These firms are generally regarded as being the most prestigious law firms headquartered in the UK, and consistently have among the highest earnings per-partner and earnings per-lawyer of UK-headquartered law firms.
In 2016 four members of the Magic Circle were among the ten largest law firms in the world measured by revenues, with Clifford Chance, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Allen & Overy, and Linklaters respectively the sixth-largest, seventh-largest, ninth-largest and tenth-largest by this measurement. In 2016 Slaughter and May was the 48th-largest law firm in the world by this measure, with revenues of $793.2m.
|Rank||Firm||Revenues||Location of headquarters|
|1||Latham & Watkins||$2.65b||United States|
|2||Baker & McKenzie||$2.62b||United States|
|3||DLA Piper||$2.54b||United States/United Kingdom|
|4||Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom||$2.41b||United States|
|5||Kirkland & Ellis||$2.3b||United States|
|6||Clifford Chance||$2.11b||United Kingdom|
|7||Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer||$2.03b||United Kingdom|
|8||Dentons||$2.03b||United States/United Kingdom|
|9||Allen & Overy||$2.02b||United Kingdom|
Those UK-headquartered firms commonly regarded as the main competitors of the Magic Circle are sometimes referred to as the "Silver Circle"; these firms are generally smaller than the members of the Magic Circle in revenues, but also have a level of earnings per-partner and earnings per-lawyer which are far above the average for UK-based law firms.
|4||Allen & Overy||£1,234,300,000|
|5||Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer||£1,232,000,000|
|6||Norton Rose Fulbright||£1,152,000,000|
|8||Herbert Smith Freehills||£800,000,000|
The following barristers' chambers in the United Kingdom are occasionally, by analogy, described by commentators as the Bar's Magic Circle:
- Blackstone Chambers
- Brick Court Chambers
- Essex Court Chambers
- Fountain Court Chambers
- One Essex Court
- List of 100 largest law firms globally (2010)
- List of largest European law firms
- List of largest United Kingdom-based law firms
- List of largest Chinese law firms (2009)
- Big Five law firms (South Africa)
- Seven Sisters (law firms)
- Big Six law firms
- Silver Circle (law firms)
- White shoe firm
- Red Circle (law) -China
- Big Four (audit firms)
- 'Different types of law firm'
- "Clifford Chance Is Top U.K. Law Firm as Revenue Falls". Bloomberg Businessweek. 8 July 2010. Retrieved 9 May 2011.
- "It's a kind of magic". The Law Gazette. 21 May 2004. Retrieved 9 May 2011.
- LawBritannia Legal Glossary: Online UK Law Careers Counselling
- "Global 100 2016". Legal Business. Retrieved 27 November 2016.
- "Silver Circle". The Lawyer. 3 September 2007. Retrieved 25 October 2010.
- "'Silver circle' firms upset the legal order". The Times. 28 August 2005. Retrieved 25 October 2010.
- "LB100 2014: The Main Table". Legal Business. 2 September 2014. Retrieved 10 February 2015.
- Bar Magic Circle, AllAboutLaw; Glossary of Law Terminology, University of Exeter; "Set Point", The Lawyer, 30 October 2000; The Modern Bar: diverse and open to all, fn 7.