The UK's top 100 law firms collectively billed their clients £10.8 billion in 2006, up 12 per cent on last year.
And they made a clear profit of £3.5 billion, up by 20 per cent, according to trade magazine Legal Business.
Profits made by the top 100 law firms have also risen from £1.3 billion to £3.5 billion over the same period. Some 6,557 partners shared the money.
"For many the take-home pay package will be simply eye-watering," claimed Jim Baxter, editor of Legal Business.
"We have seen the arrival of the world's first £1 billion law firm - Clifford Chance who billed £1.030 billion - and Pinsent Mason's astonishing 71 per cent increase in profits per equity partner."
Pinsent Mason is based in Birmingham.
The top ten is Clifford Chance, Linklaters, Fresh-fields, Allen & Overy, Lovells, DLA Piper (which has a major Birmingham office), Eversheds, (which was founded in Birmingham), Slaughter and May, Herbert Smith and Simmons & Simmons.
Of top Birmingham-linked firms DLA Piper was sixth with a turnover of £366.7 million, up 16 per cent, with profits of £81.7 million, and profits per equity partner of £605,000, up 13 per cent.
Others were - Eversheds, seventh, £323 million, up seven per cent, £66 million, £420,000, up 20 per cent; Pinsent Mason, 14th, £172 million, up 14 per cent, £45.2 million, £400,000, 71 per cent ahead; and Wragge, 24th, £101.3 million, up 14 per cent, £41 million, £394,000, up 28 per cent.
Idenfitying the 2006 "winners", Legal Business says the so-called Magic Circle, still continue to dominate the market.
It states: "Combined, Slaughter and May, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Linklaters, Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance and Herbert Smith generated total revenues of £4.1 billion. They account for 38 per cent - or 38 pence of every pound - of all legal spend within the Legal Business 100."
Mr Baxter said: "Clifford Chance continues to exert its dominance on the world's legal market breaking the £1 billion billings mark for the first time. The equity partners at Linklaters have also raised their game billing on average £1.06 million, bettered only by City leader Slaughter and May whose equity partners bill £1.16 million." Other "winning" firms this year included Simmons & Simmons, who broke into the top ten for the very first time; Pinsent Masons; and Newcastle's Watson Burton who made the top 100 for the first time.
The biggest "losers" in 2006 according to Legal Business 100 were: n Denton Wilde Sapte - the only major City firm to see a fall in billings, down four per cent to £147.5 million and profits of £32.9 million. Billings have dropped 14.1 per cent since 2001/02. n Norton Rose, who despite a buoyant market and 15 fewer equity partners, managed to post just a three per cent increase in turnover and a five per cent rise in profits per equity partner.
"2006 has been one of the most successful in the history of the UK legal market," said
Mr Baxter. "There are 42,827 lawyers employed by the top 100 law firms in the UK and they are working harder and more efficiently than ever producing greater profits for equity partnerships that are becoming harder to join.
"Just 15 partners made equity status in 2006 despite net income growing by over £500 million. With the Legal Services Bill opening up the prospect of outside investment, equity has never been so valuable and elusive.
"This will undoubtedly create tensions for many firms going forward between flat-managed equity partnerships and corporate-style businesses with fewer owners."
The Legal Business top 100 law firms' survey is published on September 1.