London misses out on Cleary promotions

Cleary Gottlieb

Steen & Hamilton is the latest US firm to announce its global promotions round.

While a number of offices in the firm’s global network benefited from the latest round of promotions, the London office was overlooked, as first revealed on www.thelawyer. com (12 November).

Of the 19 promotions, eight were to the partnership, with the remaining 11 becoming counsel. The US offices fared the best, with two partners and two counsel promoted in New York and three partners and one counsel in Washington DC.

Despite the lack of promotions in London, the firm, which operates a pure lockstep remuneration structure, insists that the office is dedicated to organic growth.

London-based M&A partner Michael McDonald said: “We don’t compromise on quality. Organic growth in all our offices is important. We discussed promotions at a recent partner meeting and it was clear that none of the London associates had been at Cleary long enough to become a partner.”

McDonald explained that the London associates and counsel had not progressed through the lockstep far enough to make them eligible for promotion and that none of the firm’s lateral hires had been with the firm for the three years required to become a partner.

“Internal growth is of course important to the firm as a whole and our focus on developing associates is crucial,” he said. “The important thing for us is to maintain the level of quality throughout the firm.”

Other European offices were more successful. Lawyers in Brussels, Cologne, Frankfurt, Paris, Rome, Milan and Moscow received promotions, while one associate was promoted to counsel in Beijing.

In 2006 eight were promoted to the equity partnership, with the London promotions comprising Tahir Sarkar and Raj Panaser.