Freshfields has ousted Slaughter and May from the highly sought-after top position in the annual league table of lawyers working on UK public takeovers. It acted on 31 deals worth a total of pounds 32.2bn, compared with its rival's 30 transactions totalling pounds 29.7bn, according to the 1995 listing by Acquisitions Monthly magazine.
This was a boom year for mergers and acquisitions, with Freshfields' winning total nearly eight times that of Slaughter and May's 1994 performance. It is estimated that law firms earned about pounds 200m of the approximately pounds 950m in City fees generated by takeovers during the year.
The firm's success in the overall table for lawyers to financial advisers or companies, results from its involvement in the year's five largest deals, including a joint role for TSB in its pounds 6.1bn acquisition by Lloyds Bank and as sole adviser to Southern Electric, which beat off National Power's pounds 2.8bn bid. However, Slaughter and May, which had headed the overall listing for two years, remained top of the table of advisers to companies with 22 deals worth pounds 23.6bn. In this category, Freshfields moved up from seventh to second place, with 20 deals worth pounds 19.6bn.
Other climbers included Norton Rose and Theodore Goddard, which rose from 11th and 20th places respectively to come seventh and ninth. Norton Rose achieved a wide spread of business, while Theodore Goddard benefited from joining Freshfields on the TSB deal with Lloyds Bank.
Allen & Overy also moved up, from 17th to eighth, with 17 deals worth pounds 7.8bn. In contrast, McKenna & Co, a top 10 firm in previous years, failed to make the top 20.
Five of the top six positions in the combined table went to firms involved in Glaxo's pounds 9.1bn takeover of Wellcome. The exception was Linklaters & Paines, which still came third, with 19 transactions worth pounds 20bn.