DLA Piper heads promotions table with fifty-nine made up

DLA Piper heads promotions table with fifty-nine made up” />Allen & Overy (A&O) made a record number of promotions this year, while Linklaters stayed steady at 32 and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer saw its number of internal promotions drop by half. The recent round of partnership promotions was a mixed story at the magic circle firms, which are normally the biggest promoters of internal candidates.

Elsewhere, Slaughter and May added eight to its partnership, Eversheds broke its promotion record with 24 made up and post-merger DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary left the others standing with 59 new partners.

A&O’s figure of 33 new partners is not only a record number of promotions, it is also more than double last year’s total. As first revealed by The Lawyer Career Report 2006, A&O’s internal promotions figure has been declining steadily from 28 in 2003-04 to 14 last year.

Thirteen of the 32 promotions are in London, from which banking and capital markets gained six new partners with corporate closely behind with five, reflecting the firm’s strengths. Litigation and tax were the other two groups to pick up new partners in London.

Linklaters’ 32 internal promotions were in line with recent years, with the same amount made up in 2005-06 and 31 promoted in 2004-05.

Only a third of the new partners are in London, while the rest of the European network gained 13 partner promotions. Linklaters divides its practices into three main groups, with corporate landing five promotions in London, project and finance increasing by six and commercial by one.

As predicted by The Lawyer (28 March), private equity specialist Richard Youle was promoted and helps fill the gap left by the departure of Graham White and Raymond McKeeve to Kirkland & Ellis, as first reported on www.thelawyer.com (24 March). There was only one other addition to the magic circle firm’s private equity team, that of Vincent Ponsonnaille in Paris.

Freshfields’ internal promotions fell to a four-year low, with 10 partners and one consultant made up. In 2005-06 the magic circle firm made 21 additions to the partnership, while the year before 16 lawyers landed promotions. Only two of the promotions are in London and, as you would expect, both were in corporate. New York was the biggest beneficiary of this round of promotions, with three new partners in corporate and finance.

Slaughters made up its highest number of partners in four years with eight partners in 2006-07. However, corporate and finance partner David Frank told The Lawyer: “It’s not driven by quantity, but by quality.”

The promotions were pretty evenly split between practice areas, with three in corporate, two in commercial real estate and one apiece in dispute resolution, pensions and tax.

Eversheds broke all its records this year after it made up 24 new partners, three coming from the firm’s international offices. HR, litigation and real estate were the big winners with six, five and seven new partners respectively. The firm’s desire to grow its London presence was also reflected in the promotions, with seven added to the City office.

There are 10 new partners for Herbert Smith, with just one coming from outside London. Surprisingly, considering the firm’s publicly stated ambition to increase the turnover of its finance practice, that area only received one new partner. However, the recent spate of laterals into the firm’s finance practice is probably partly to blame. In London, real estate and corporate got three new partners apiece, with litigation and employment trusts and pensions adding one partner each.

Norton Rose‘s banking group scooped the biggest chunk of the firm’s 23 new partners. The four London promotions will go some way to filling the gaps left by the multiple departures it has suffered over the past year, including the Baker & McKenzie defectors. Of the 13 new partners in London, corporate finance got the biggest portion with six.

The finance group was also the big winner at Ashurst, with six of the 15 new partners made up in that practice. The London office accounted for nine promotions, but the firm has followed up the recent lateral hires in Germany with three internal promotions split between its Frankfurt and Munich offices.

Finally, following on from its hefty load of lateral hires last year, DLA Piper followed it up with an unprecedented level of internal promotions. Fifty-nine lawyers made it into the DLA Piper partnership in 2006. However, only 14 of those were in the UK, of which only four were in London.

Real estate topped the list for UK promotions with four, followed by corporate, regulatory and technology, media and communications, each gaining three new partners.