Linklaters‘ New York office is set to become a flashpoint within the partnership as groups of partners threaten a revolt over the firm’s aggressive US lateral plans.
Sources have told The Lawyer that dissent is mounting, sparked by the partner hiring strategy in the US – despite New York’s failure to produce a material profit for a number of years.
Linklaters has been unsuccessful in attracting high-profile partners in New York, but if it does a number of partners are threatening not to vote through new recruits unless the firm restructures substantially its US base.
Discontent is growing against a backdrop of the firm’s continuing review of partner numbers. The Lawyer is aware of a number of partners currently discussing their futures at Linklaters.
In New York itself, leading asset finance partner Marianne Rosenberg, who until recently was head of the office, is understood to have had conversations with the management over her future. Rosenberg, who was replaced as New York head by Stephen Land, said: “I have no current intention of leaving.”
The Lawyer has also been informed by a number of sources that lockstep continues to be an issue in New York and there are concerns that it may be altered to allow Linklaters to take on highly compensated US partners.
However, Angel, who took over driving the strategic direction of the office after the managing partner for the Americas Terence Kyle announced his retirement, effective from July, said that the firm would only recruit within the lockstep.
Angel declined to comment on individual partners, but said: “We’re seeking to grow a strong and vibrant New York office. At the moment, the best prospect of doing that is by lateral hires.”