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This year, The Lawyer’s annual ranking of the largest UK law firms by turnover is available as an interactive, digital benchmarking tool. For the first time this will allow you to manipulate each data set against the metrics of your choice.
As this year nears its close, The Lawyer will be running a number of analysis pieces on the impact of the recession on private practice, having already taken the temp-erature among clients this year with our research related to charge-out rates and fee discounts.
Our first in the private practice series is our lead story, which looks at the total number of partner departures in the top 10, as disclosed in those firms’ LLP accounts.
We decided to republish the extent of the redundancies and the half-year results - not because they map particularly easily onto each other (they don’t), but because together they give a rounded picture of the way that the recession has affected major law firms.
It is worth stressing again that not every partner will have been asked to go for economic or performance reasons, and some of those who have left the LLP may still be with the firm in some guise. However, the research gives you a fair snapshot of exit trends. (There will be an exploration of firms outside the top 10 next week.)
The most illuminating part of the research - and one which took a fair amount of legwork - was teasing out the practice areas of each of the partners who resigned from each firm’s LLP. It is perhaps not surprising that Allen & Overy and Clifford Chance figure so strongly on finance, with the former seeing 19 departures and the latter 21.
Linklaters’ 10 exits in corporate look prescient, given that its half-year turnover fell by 9.5 per cent due to the shrinking deal market. What is remarkable is the extent of the turbulence there has been at Eversheds, which takes the crown as having been one of the most overpartnered firms in the top 10.
The partner exit table is not the only prism through which to view the recession. Partner exits have a knock-on effect on gearing. As Gavriel Hollander explores in the City column, the debate over gearing is a complex one. Meanwhile, our feature sees Matt Byrne and Katy Dowell exploring the dynamics behind the wave of mergers this year.
All in all, it’s essential reading - if a tad sobering.