Linklaters defectors help hike firm profits

Linklaters has saved an estimated £9.6m as a result of the continued partner exodus from the firm.

Between 2002 and 2003, at least 21 partners have exited the firm. The firm has made five lateral hires at partner level in the last year and limited the number of its lawyers promoted to the partnership to just 19 in the latest round.
This equates to a net partner reduction of 14. Out of 490 partners, 80 are now non-equity.

Based on the assumption that the 14 lawyers claimed the average profits per partner, which last year at Linklaters was £691,000, the firm will save an estimated £9.7m. A spokesperson said that Linklaters’ 6 per cent rise in profits was attributable to the strong performance of all of the firm’s practice areas, notably finance.

Although departing partners would incur severance costs, the firm’s policy to keep a tight hold on the equity has also helped it increase in average profits per equity partner.

In contrast, 13 Clifford Chance partners between the age of 55 and 60 have retired, while eight have joined other firms. The firm made 33 lateral hires last year.

The news comes in the same week that Cologne-based partner Hans Busch is leaving the firm as part of a strategic realignment of the magic circle firm’s German real estate practice.

Earlier in the month, Hong Kong head of intellectual property Rebecca Lo and head of real estate David Clark both left the partnership.