Building for the future in 2014 promotions round

Allen & Overy did it February, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer followed in March and Linklaters made its move before the Easter break. Now Clifford Chance, Ashurst, Herbert Smith Freehills and Norton Rose Fulbright have joined the pack in unveiling partnership promotions rounds for 2014.

So what can we learn from this year’s promotions? For one thing, the increased movement at the top of the partner tree is clearly having an impact on the practice focus of the promotions. Herbies, for instance, made up 23 partners this year, nine of which were in the disputes team, which has seen a series of partner departures from the same group globally.

The same may be said of Clifford Chance, where the bulk of its 21 promotions were in corporate and finance, the same practices that saw the exit of partners Kem Ihenacho, Tom Evans and former global private equity head David Walker to Latham & Watkins recently.

Elsewhere some firms are also looking to shore up their global consolidation plans. Norton Rose Fulbright has focused heavily on Canada, where it opened in 2011, with 11 new partners and where a third of its new partners were hired in 2013. Both Herbies and Ashurst have added weight in Australia, where they opened through mergers in 2012 and 2013 respectively.

This year’s promos are about more than simply replenishing the partner stocks.

Also on The Lawyer:

  • Lawrence Graham has surrendered its Singapore foreign law practice licence in preparation for its merger with Wragge & Co next month
  • Norton Rose Fulbright is set to close its Prague office on 1 May 2014, following a review of the Czech market
  • Budget fashion retailer Primark has turned to Allen & Overy and DLA Piper for advice on its first launch into the US following a 26 per cent rise in the chain’s profits
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