Michael Herman and Alex Spence
------The “magic circle” has lost some of its power: average hourly rates for London’s top commercial lawyers fell by a third last year as law firms offered substantial discounts after competition intensified in the downturn.
------Partners at London’s five elite firms billed an average of £450 an hour, down from £675 a year ago, according to Jim Diamond, an independent legal costs consultant.
------Mr Diamond said that the figures, collated from law firms and their clients, showed that the average cost of instructing a partner at Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance, Slaughter and May, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer or Linklaters had dropped to a five-year low.
------According to lawyers and their clients, the largest law firms, battered by the recession, are “falling over themselves” to cut prices in an attempt to retain business.
(see full text at: http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/law/article6843514.ece)