Top London firms streak ahead as mid-tier firms struggle

November 4, 2010 An annual survey of the legal services market by PricewaterhouseCoopers has shown a widening gap between London’s biggest law firms and the mid-tier firms.

Partners at London's 10 largest practices, earned on average twice as much as their mid-tier counterparts this year, leaving mid-tier firms to battle it out for a diminishing pool of work.

Alistair Rose, head of PwC's professional practices advisory group, attributes the difficulties faced by mid-tier firms to their greater dependence on domestic transactions. He says the figures raise doubts about whether some mid-tier firms would survive: "It's becoming really, really stark now that their operating model is under real pressure”.

Mr Rose said many in the mid-tier were seeking mergers, particularly with American practices. Two firms, Denton Wilde Sapte and Hammonds, have already clinched transatlantic deals this year.

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