Ambitious or just blind hopeful? – Clifford Chance look to grow Asia revenue by £50 million

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On the train ride to work today I read a briefing update on the Australasian Lawyer website that the newly elected Managing Partner of Clifford Chance, Matthew Layton, had announced that the firm aims to raise revenue in Asia by 25 per cent.

Now the first thing I should say about this is that I haven’t been able to verify the source for this briefing update. The second thing I should say is that I know a number of key people – both on the management and fee earning sides – at Clifford Chance in Asia.

Putting that aside however, and on the back of the news that Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson is to effectively close its Hong Kong and Shanghai offices and pull out of Asia (there remains some debate whether the firm will retain a representative office in Hong Kong and there is also a suggestion that the firm will not relinquish its Shanghai licence), and bearing in mind that Clifford Chance LLP’s announced earnings for its Asia Pacific operations in 2014 were £195 million (significantly up from 2013 announced earnings of £179 million but only marginally up from announced 2012 earnings of £181 million), I’m left wondering:

where do Clifford Chance see themselves earning an additional circa £50 million in Asia in 2015-16?

Because, while I wish  Matthew Layton, Caroline Firstbrook, Bas Borris Visser and everyone else at Clifford Chance the very best of luck, I’m not sure that:

“embrac[ing] technology and flexible working and service models as key elements for [the] expansion”

will cut it. And I somehow think the management teams of a number of other firms in the region (including those at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson) would agree.

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