Clifford Chance today kicked off the magic circle results-reporting season by announcing only marginal increases in profit. Unaudited figures for the year ending 30 April 2019 show a 2% increase in partnership profit to £637m and a 1% rise in PEP to £1.62m. Revenues rose by 4.3% year-on-year to £1,693m.

Matthew Layton, global managing partner, blamed 'some widely reported headwinds' from the third quarter onwards, including rising tensions in the US-China trade dispute and continued uncertainty about Brexit. 

However while these developments dampened business confidence, investment, and activity levels, 'they also created opportunities as clients have turned to us to help them navigate the turbulence’, Layton said. 

The firm said that, since adopting a new strategy in 2015, partnership profit has grown by 42% and PEP by 45%. The strategy introduced new performance indicators, leadership appointments and placed greater focus on the US and Asia. The firm’s revenue base is now made up of 37% corporate enterprises, 31% financial investors and 32% banks.

Layton added: ‘We consider it more important than ever to invest in the people, skills, systems and ways of working that will be fundamental to our future success in a rapidly changing market.’