A&O, Clifford Chance, Freshfields: We’re not cutting our partnerships

Allen & Overy (A&O), Clifford Chance and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer have vowed not to carry out a partnership cull in response to the latest downturn, as it emerges that Linklaters is set to cull over 30 partners globally as part of its biggest restructuring in three years

Allen & Overy (A&O), Clifford Chance and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer have vowed not to carry out a partnership cull in response to the latest downturn, as it emerges that Linklaters is set to cull some 30 partners globally as part of its biggest restructuring in three years.

A Clifford Chance spokesperson said: “We currently have no plans for a repeat of the exercise we undertook in 2009 to rebalance our partnership.”

The spokesperson added: “We currently have no plans for [associate or support-staff] redundancy programmes in the firm.”

However, the firm confirmed that performance management was one reason why partners could leave the firm.

While A&O admitted two weeks ago that it had returned to managing its equity after a two-year break following its 2009 global redundancy programme, the firm has denied that it is making more extensive cuts into the partnership and has said it has no plans to restructure or re-shape its partnership or make any redundancies among associates or support staff.

Freshfields sources indicated a similar message.

Linklaters is set to axe at least 30 partners, with London finance and capital markets partners expected to be affected the most.

A source close to the firm said: “The reality is that over the years the corporate department has always been very tight and hasn’t grown that much. The finance practice did very well in the boom and grew quite large.”

Partners higher up the lockstep are understood to be worst hit.