The partners surveyed thought that M&A and commercial litigation were the areas most likely to see an increase in activity in the coming months.
The research also found that these departments were most likely to consider hiring at partner level within the next six months.
Nicholas Scott director Nicholas Robbins said: “There’s an expectation of an uptick in M&A and private equity in the next six months as the pick-up in the equity markets has made the valuation of companies easier to determine, combined with a predicted easing of credit.”
More than half of those surveyed expected credit to become easier to obtain for clients.
The research also hinted that City lawyers feel the worst of the recession may be over. Only 10 per cent of partners thought that their firms would make staff redundant over the coming half-year, and just 17 per cent believed that partner profits would fall. Fifty-two per cent of partners thought their profit share would stay the same.
The survey was carried out on 100 London-based partners at 80 UK- and US-headquartered firms.
According to participants, the practice areas least likely to show an increase in activity were pensions, employee benefits and asset finance.
Sixty two per cent of partners said that partner loyalty had been affected by the economic downturn.