This chart tells two stories:
- The Magic Circle’s revenue has not again been as high as it was in 2008, and the New York firms’ revenue has not again been as low as it was in that year.
- The London/NY ratio in 2008 was about 1.67:1 and by 2013 was 1.26:1
Here’s a very similar story:
- The Magic Circle’s all-time high headcount was 2008/2009 at around 9,600 lawyers and New York’s all-time low headcount was 2008.
- London went from about twice the size of New York to about 1-1/2 times as large.
Great discipline exerted all around. Both these lines are almost horizontal, with strongly constrained growth on the entire half decade. However else they may differ, these firms have tightened the screws at the top.
The inevitable sequel to the previous chart, answering the question, “How does total lawyer headcount compare to equity partner headcount?” Not to be Euclidean about it, but just under 20% appears to be the Golden Mean upon which the transatlatnic elite are converging.
Should other firms take heed? Well, at least they should take note.
Now we cross over from the land of tonnage and throw-weight into the realm of judgment and implications.