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Bird & Bird chief executive David Kerr has rebuffed criticism levelled at the firm in the wake of the departure of IT specialist Toby Crick.
Crick joined Bristows as an equity partner last week, leading to criticism that it was becoming all but impossible for London-based associates to make partner at Bird & Bird.
“Best to look elsewhere when they can’t or won’t offer you partnership, and you’ve broken your back trying to get it,” said one commentor on TheLawyer.com. “This is an indication that there’s no room at the top at Birds.”
Crick’s departure, coupled with the introduction six years ago of the new role of senior European consultant, has lent weight to the perception that the firm is focusing its partnership promotions on its overseas offices rather than London.
Kerr dismissed the criticism, pointing to the two internal candidates Bird & Bird had promoted in the last 12 months. He claimed the door to London candidates was still “wide open”.
“Partners would love to see the right candidates coming through to back up the growth we’ve been experiencing,” added Kerr. “Because of our growth in London during one of the toughest periods in the market I can remember, the door is still wide open for candidates.”
Kerr added that he personally had “worked hard” to ensure that all Bird & Bird offices had identical criteria for promoting lawyers to the partnership.
“We have the same committee looking at all candidates every year,” Kerr said. “We’re very strict on applying common criteria internationally. Also there’s no bias in favour of any country in our network.”