Clifford Chance has retaken its place as the biggest law firm in the UK by revenues, pipping fellow magic circle firm Linklaters to the post.

Clifford Chance also reported a strong resurgence in average profits per equity partner (PEP), which jumped by a quarter to £933,000 in 2009/10 from £747,000 in 2008/09. Revenues fell by 5% to £1.197bn from £1.262bn over the same period.

On Monday, Linklaters reported revenues down by 8.8% to £1.18bn, with PEP down 6.8% to £1.21m.

Magic circle firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, the third UK firm to post revenues above £1.2bn last year, could yet top the revenues chart if it reports stable or improved turnover in 2009/10.

Clifford Chance managing partner David Childs said: ‘Given the challenging market conditions, this is a strong set of results with our profitability much improved and back on track.

Revenue was supported by some excellent, high profile, cross-border client mandates over the year. And with the phenomenal growth in Asia and other developing economies, the spread of our geographic footprint has greatly assisted our firm.

‘While western Europe and the US remain an important focus for activity, I expect us to put significant emphasis in the coming years on deepening our offering in those markets with the strongest growth potential, including the BRIC countries and other emerging economies particularly in Asia and Latin America.

‘While I don’t underestimate the challenging nature of the markets, especially in the West, with the depth of talent we have across the firm and our ambitious plans for the future, I am confident that Clifford Chance will go from strength to strength.’

Last week, Allen & Overy reported turnover down 4% to £1.05bn, and PEP up to £1.1m from £1m. The fifth magic circle firm, Slaughter and May, does not publish its financial results.