Bird & Bird has rightly won plaudits for its phenomenal year. But is there a bigger story lurking that risks ruffling its feathers?
As we reported yesterday, the firm has just lost one of its bright young IT lawyers, Toby Crick, to rivals Bristows (see story). This isn’t enough to stress out David Kerr and Co, but what it reveals about internal politics at TwoBirds might be.
In its most recent round of partnership promotions, TwoBirds didn’t promote a single London-based partner. Instead, the firm relied upon a new class of lawyer it introduced to the City recently, known as senior European consultant.
Since the firm brought over this new hybrid class from the continent, where it has been in use for some time, it has promoted a handful of lawyers to the role. Sources claim that all but one have left.
The departures suggest there’s a bit of a log jam at the senior end of TwoBirds’ partnership, a point highlighted by a comment posted today on TheLawyer.com: “This is an indication that there’s no room at the top at Birds - all those ageing partners, whether they’re any good or not. Make room for new and better blood if you ask me.”
Now, despite its barn-storming financials, word is that TwoBirds’ biggest concern is the negative PR impact caused by the loss of rising stars such as Crick.
Incidentally, as Bristows only has one tier of partners, the former TwoBirds lawyer has gone straight into the equity.
Just 38 per cent of Bird & Bird’s partners own a stake in the firm. Looks like it could be time for them to loosen their grip.