Corporate outnumbers banking in A&O promotions

Allen & Overy (A&O) is the latest magic circle firm to announce its partnership promotions, making up 32 of its associates. It also announced its first-ever counsel promotions in its London office.

The partnership numbers are slightly down on last year, when the firm promoted its most ever, with 33. The new additions increase the partnership headcount at A&O by slightly more than 7 per cent.

The corporate department overtook banking for the first time in the amount of new partners it netted, with 10 to banking’s eight. International capital markets (ICM) also got eight. Finance traditionally gets the lion’s share of promotions at A&O, last year taking more than half.

The firm’s London headquarters scored 12 new partners, the most of any single office, but 63 per cent of the promotions were abroad. Other jurisdictions to do well were New York with five and Hong Kong and Paris with three apiece.

In an interview with The Lawyer (18 December 2006), managing partner David Morley highlighted both the New York and Paris offices, as well as the global corporate team, as areas for focus for 2007.

The new partners have been voted into the salaried tier. Non-equity partners must wait two years before being considered for full equity. Once an equity partner, they run a 15-year lockstep – the longest in the City – from 20 to 50 units. Each unit equates to £24,008 (based on last year’s profit).

Meanwhile, the firm introduced the new role of counsel in October 2006 (see The Lawyer, 12 October 2006), and this is the first time associates have been promoted into the role in the London office. Corporate, banking and ICM scored three counsel each. The firm promoted a total of 17 associates to counsel.

A&O HR director Genevieve Tennant said: “There’s a real challenge in London for all major firms to attract and retain great people. We believe introducing the new counsel role shows that we’re serious and innovative about our approach to solving complex HR issues.”

The news follows the announcements from rivals Linklaters and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer on Monday (2 April) that they were promoting 38 and 22 respectively.

A&O is the only magic circle firm so far not to have increased promotions on last year. Clifford Chance is yet to announce its new partners for 2007.

A&O’s new partners are:

Michael Castle (London), Nicholas Clark (London), Fahad Doha (London), Bob Penn (London), Christian Saunders (Dubai), Walter Uebelhoer (Frankfurt), Mark Wesseldine (London), Charles Williams (New York);

Edward Barnett (London), Jean-François Bouchoms (Luxembourg), Michael Gilligan (New York), Jean-Patrice Labautière (Paris), Tom Levine (London), Martin Magál (Bratislava), Helga Van Peer (Brussels), Pascal Weerts (Brussels), Louise Wolfson (London), Cathy Yeung (Hong Kong);

Diana Billik (Paris), James Grandolfo (Hong Kong), Matthew Hebburn (Hong Kong), Paola Leocani (Milan), Franz Ranero (London), Amanda Thomas (London), Cristiano Tommasi (Rome), John Williams (New York);

Andrew Denny (London), Andrew Rhys Davies (New York);

Private client
Arabella Saker (London);

Real estate
Nick Smith (London);

David Lewis (New York), Mathieu Vignon (Paris).