Nabarro Nathanson has appointed half the number of internal partners compared with last year.
There have only been five internal promotions to partnership in the London office, in contrast with the nine partners announced last year.
In April 1998 six were appointed in the London office, two in Sheffield and one in Reading.
Partner David Bramson says: "The numbers are by no means a reflection of the firm's business. We have to recruit the right people at the right time - just because business is increasing that does not mean that we can lower our standards."
Bramson says there is no set age for partnership but lawyers must be qualified for a period of at least six years. "Everybody who was nominated this year got through by securing a 75 per cent majority vote."