The firm billed £490m for the first half of the year, which is an increase of 10 per cent on the same period last year. But the budget was nearer £530m, so the results fell 7.5 per cent short of the target.
Clifford Chance slashed its US bonus bill last month, cutting payments to associates from $75,000 (£52,100) to $50,000 (£34,700). Still, UK partners at the top of the equity ladder bagged £855,000 each last year and are unlikely to go hungry any time soon.
The six weeks following 11 September saw billing fall dramatically for most law firms, but Clifford Chance for one managed to ride out the temporary slump.
But it was not just the big boys that saw turnover bolstered, despite the economy. Newcastle firm Watson Burton shrugged off the downturn to announce a 16 per cent hike in turnover, taking it to a reported level of £7.9m, an improvement that senior partner Andrew Hoyle attributes to the firm's commercial rebranding.