Clifford Chance has defended its career progression opportunities for associates after a team of six associates was laid off in New York.

As reported on (6 November), the magic circle firm laid off the associates after the impact of the global credit crunch rendered their jobs redundant.

The team had worked exclusively for Standard & Poor’s, reviewing documents for mortgage-backed securities, which have collapsed in recent months.

However, a source at the firm said the losses were not a major blow to Clifford Chance and will not be repeated within the firm. He added that opportunities for associates remained good at the firm.

Certainly over the 2006-07 period promotions to the firm’s partnership remained strong, with the corporate and banking practices in particular seeing the greatest number of partners made up at 12 and 10 respectively.

The firm continues to focus on organic growth: over the past three years a total of 88 partners have been promoted internally compared with 38 lateral partner hires.

The number of lateral hires has decreased significantly. In 2005-06 the firm hired 23 lateral partners, with the number dropping to nine the following year.