Herbies puts litigators on ice for another year

Herbert Smith’s litigation department has been effectively passed over for partnership for the second successive year as the firm focuses its promotion strategy on corporate and finance.

The firm has made up just one litigator, Simon Clarke, in its latest round of promotions. In comparison, there will be four new corporate partners and three new real estate partners from 1 April, with employment and finance getting one new partner apiece.

The news follows months of complaints from Herbert Smith’s litigation assistants about low morale in the department and a lack of clarity in career progression plans.

Senior partner David Gold said: “Sometimes you find it’s just not possible to promote more people because it’s not the right stage in their development. Next year there will be a much larger pipeline of people who will be in the development position where they’ll be considered for promotion.”

Gold praised the quality of all this year’s new partners, saying the list was particularly strong.

All but one of the 10 promotions are in London. New corporate partner Tom Chau is based in Hong Kong.

Meanwhile, Eversheds has made a record number of internal partner promotions in London as it moves to strengthen the office as a gateway to the world.

The firm has made up seven associates in London among 21 promotions to salaried partner status.

Chief executive David Gray said: “We’re concentrating our firepower in London as a gateway to increase our international activity.”

The promotions follow a dip last year, when the firm made up only 11 new partners, compared with 12 lateral hires. Only three new partners were situated in London and the South East.

“I’d always prefer to have the majority of people promoted from within the business,” said Gray.