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Senior associates at Clifford Chance will have a longer-than-normal wait to discover whether they have made partnership this year with the firm postponing its promotions round until its global restructuring has been taken care of.
Magic circle rival Allen & Overy, which is also drastically reshaping its partnership, is still planning to appoint new partners on 1 May as usual, although the actual process for naming who they will be has been delayed.
Both firms have blamed their partner culls for the hold-ups, with a Clifford Chance spokesperson saying: “Clifford Chance will alter the usual timetable for elections to the partnership this year in view of the partnership review that’s taking place. Elections usually take effect from 1 May. It makes sense to defer final decisions until the firm has concluded the partnership review that’s currently underway.”
Annual promotions are always an important indicator of how a firm is performing and how it is positioning itself for the years ahead. They are more significant than ever this year, though, given the scale of cutbacks across the legal industry.
The firms differ in that Linklaters has favoured its London office, with six of its 18 new partners based in the City, while just two of Freshfields’ 14 new partners are London based. The greatest number of partners Freshfields made up in a single office was three, in Frankfurt.
Both firms favoured corporate, with Freshfields promoting nine into the practice, while Linklaters boosted its practice by eight.