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EXCLUSIVE: 2018 eprivateclient Top Law Firms revealed

09/04/2018 Will Sidery

Welcome to the 2018 eprivateclient Top Law Firm rankings – a guide to the UK law firms providing high quality private client services to wealthy individuals and families based both domestically and internationally.

As with last year’s rankings – the first year since the inception of the initiative in 2009 – the firms featured are divided into tiers, reflecting not only the size of firms’ private client teams, but also their reputations within the private wealth sector and the emphasis placed upon looking after wealthy clients and their families.

For 2018, 44 firms feature across three tiers with 12 firms featured among Tier I, 19 firms in Tier II and a further 13 featuring in Tier III.

Across the three tiers, the 44 firms have a total of UK 605 private client partners (an average of 14 per firm), 2388 UK fee earners (54 per firm), total UK staff numbering 3557 (an average of 81 private client staff per firm) and total UK fee income of £581 million. Despite featuring two fewer firms than last year, total partner numbers (637 last year), total fee earners (2462 in 2017) and fee income (2017 = £618.8 million) stayed at similar levels.

The twelve firms featured in Tier I have 299 private client partners, ranging in numbers from eight (Maurice Turnor Gardner) to 52 (Irwin Mitchell). The 12 firms employ 1327 fee earners with Irwin Mitchell Private Wealth topping the chart with 297 fee earners in the UK. Total staff across the Tier I firms amounts to 1972 with Irwin Mitchell employing 476 in its UK private wealth team. The twelve firms generated fee income of £361.1 million - with an average of £30.1 million across the twelve.

19 firms feature in Tier II for 2018 with a total of 237 (partners – ranging in numbers from 20 (Thomson Snell & Passmore and Michelmores) to four (Stephenson Harwood). The firms have an average of 46 fee earners per firm (866 in total) with 84 at Womble Bond Dickinson and 12 at Stephenson Harwood. The 19 firms have total private client staff of 1284 and generated fee income of £177.7 million in 2017.

Tier III features 13 firms for 2018 with 69 private client partners, 195 fee earners, total private client staff of 301 and fee income for 2017 of £42.2 million.

Across the 44 firms there were 178 new solicitors with Irwin Mitchell Private Wealth topping the chart with 21 newly qualified for the past 12 months. The 44 firms averaged 36.3 percent for private client fee income as part of total firm income in 2017 – ranging from 1.5 percent to 100 percent private client work.

The rankings, built on the results of surveys sent to over 140 law firms in the UK, are based on data for 2017. Where data was not provided by firms, publisher’s estimates are made, which are clearly labelled on the rankings.

To see the 2018 eprivateclient Top Law Firms please click here.

The 2018 eprivateclient Top Law Firms is kindly supported by lead sponsor Sanlam Private Wealth and co-sponsored by Baird & Co.

A champagne reception will be held for the winners in London on 23 April 2018.

*This article has been updated since it was first published on 9 April 2018.

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