New partner numbers down at A&O and CC

Allen & Overy

(A&O) and Clifford Chance announced their partnership promotions last Monday, as first reported on www.thelawyer. com (7 April), both making up slightly fewer new partners than they did in 2007.

Clifford Chance promoted 35 and A&O promoted 27 associates to partner, taking their partnership totals to 648 and 505 respectively.

The trends and motives behind the promotions at the two global finance giants are remarkably similar. Clifford Chance senior partner Stuart Popham predicted at the start of the year that firms will have to follow work around the globe in 2008, while outgoing A&O managing partner and senior partner elect David Morley said the firm would emerge stronger from the credit crunch by focusing on emerging markets. London promotions were down on last year’s figures, accounting for only around 30 per cent at both firms. Although London was still the largest single beneficiary, Clifford Chance made up two fewer partners in the City than last year with 11, while at A&O London promotions plummeted by a third to eight new partners.

Overseas offices picked up the rest. Clifford Chance’s New York office had a record four promotions and Germany saw a healthy five new partners (down from six).

The big winner, however, was Dubai, coming out of nowhere (zero) to three new partners in finance this year.

Amsterdam, Milan and Singapore saw two new partners each, with Brussels, Madrid and Barcelona on one partner apiece.

At A&O the new foreign partners were scattered around ;more ;evenly. Belgium, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, ;Luxembourg, Moscow, Paris and Shanghai were top of the foreign pile with two partners each. One partner each was promoted in Amsterdam, Bangkok, Dubai, Milan, New York and Warsaw.

At both firms finance and corporate bagged the most promotions, with up to 10 new partners in each of the groups. Capital markets came third, with six new partners at Clifford Chance and four at A&O.

Both made up a woefully low numbers of female partners, with Clifford Chance promoting only three new women partners (9 per cent of the total) and A&O doing marginally better with four new women in the partnership (14 per cent, down from 24 per cent in 2007).