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As the promotion season kicks off, firms are predicting record partnership appointments. The Lawyer can reveal which firms have preferred lateral hires over internal promotions in the last three years.
Linklaters leads the way with 95 internal promotions between 2004 and 2007, while Clifford Chance follows closely behind with 88.
Linklaters managing partner Tony Angel said: “We have, over a long period, continued to manage our partnership so that it remains aligned and focused. We’ve made room for our best people by managing those areas that are not best aligned with our clients.”
DLA Piper has made 74 internal promotions in three years and has leapt ahead of A&O, which made 67 promotions, and Freshfields, which made just 48, although DLA Piper has the smallest equity.
It has also been the most aggressive firm in the recruitment market, taking an astounding 220 partners from other firms between 2004 and 2007 (including mergers). Its nearest rival in the laterals market was Taylor Wessing, with 55 new partners.
Cobbetts finished third, hiring 52 new partners, 31 of whom are accounted for by the firm’s three mergers in 2004-05. However, during the past two years it has restructured, resulting in the loss of almost a third of its partners. Among other firms that have suffered high partnership attrition rates is Lovells, which saw 24.6 per cent of its partners depart. Eversheds, which finished fifth among the internal promoters with 57 new partners, and seventh for lateral hires with 45, also lost 19.5 per cent of its partnership.
Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP), Bird & Bird and Eversheds are the only firms to make the top 10 most prolific hirers without the aid of a merger. BLP promoted 24 associates during the same period, while Bird & Bird made up 30.