Slaughter and May is ranked by most legal directories in the top 10 law firms in the world, and it is the only firm from the United Kingdom to be ranked in the top 10 by Vault. Several recent surveys (including a Vault report published in the summer of 2006) confirm Slaughter and May's reputation as the most "prestigious" and most "selective" firm in the United Kingdom.
The firm advises the most FTSE 100 companies (28) of any law firm in the magic circle, and The Lawyer notes that the average profit per equity partner (PEP) is higher than any other firm in the magic circle. With top partners breaking the £2m barrier, Slaughters is the most profitable firm in the UK, second in the world only to New York law firm Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz. This was confirmed by the Evening Standard in August 2007.
In 2006 Slaughter and May was ranked at the top of the Asian M&A rankings despite having a Hong Kong office as its only representation in the region. Apart from its Corporate dominance, the firm is highly regarded for Tax, EU/Competition and Capital Markets.
During the 1980s, the firm acted on a number of the privatisations instigated by the Conservative Government, including British Aerospace, Amersham International, Associated British Ports, British Airways, Enterprise Oil, Sealink, Jaguar, British Telecom, Britoil, BP, British Gas, British Steel and the electricity industry. It has retained most of these companies as clients post-privatisation.
It is the only member of the Magic Circle not to pursue aggressive international expansion (notably into the United States). Instead, it ensures international capability by relying on a network of so-called "Best Friends" which include some of the leading firms in the major European jurisdictions: Bredin Prat (France), Hengeler Mueller (Germany), Bonelli Erede Pappalardo (Italy), De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek (Netherlands), Uría Menéndez (Spain), Mannheimer Swartling (Sweden), as well as top tier New York firms of the likes of Davis Polk & Wardwell and Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz. In Asia, Slaughter and May works with market leaders such as Allens Arthur Robinson and Jun He Law Offices. In recent years it has strengthened its ties with the "Best Friends" by sharing office space with them in both Paris and Brussels.
Also of note is the fact that qualified lawyers within the Corporate Finance departments do not specialise in one particular area but are more client-focused thus providing a broader range of services.
Slaughter and May is rumoured to be one of the relatively few major law firms left in the world with no written partnership agreement. The firm has always declined to confirm or deny reports. Slaughter and May is also the last member of the Magic Circle to have only equity partners (and no salaried partners).