Move On Up: Hogan Lovells

Last week’s Move On Up focused on Hogan Lovells and its general partner growth over the past six years.

The data revealed that the firm, both since the May 2010 merger between Hogan & Hartson and Lovells and previously as Lovells, had made up 51 partners, hired 19 but lost 56 to retirement, other firms and moves in-house.

This week the focus remains on Hogan Lovells, but instead of looking at changes in the partnership from a male/female perspective, examines the changes from a departmental perspective.

Corporate strength

Figures gathered for The Lawyer UK 200 last year showed that the firm’s London corporate department was its largest by partner headcount with 140 partners. Litigation was next with 79 and finance, with 63, third.

Hogan Lovells’ corporate practice group has also been the main focus for promotions and lateral hires since 1 May 2006. At least one partner has been made up in the corporate team in each year. In the bumper promotions round of 2007-08, six out of 12 new partners were in the corporate team, while two corporate lawyers joined the partnership on both 1 May 2010 and 1 March 2011.

The present financial year is the only one of the past six in which there have been fewer corporate promotions than in any other practice area, with corporate insurance specialist Steven McEwan given the nod.

However, the corporate team has also seen a considerable number of partner departures – 17 in total across the six-year period, or 30 per cent
of all those leaving the partnership.

The 2007-08 financial year was the ­hardest-hit, with three corporate partners becoming consultants and three more leaving the firm.

The gain in corporate across the six-year period was 11 partners, and the current financial year is the only one to show a net loss of one after the retirement of John Cooper and Richard Lewis’s move to Eversheds.

The past two years have seen Hogan Lovells put most of its efforts into growing the finance team. This has paid off, with a net gain of 13 ­partners over six years and the fewest departures from the group.

A total of 13 finance partners have been made up since May 2006, ­including four in 2010-11 and two this year. Meanwhile, two finance ­partners were hired in 2010-11 and another four joined on 1 May 2011.

Hogan Lovells bade farewell to eight finance partners in the time under scrutiny. The biggest loss came in 2010-11, when project finance ­partner Gavin McQuater retired and three partners left for other firms. Katherine Mulhern quit for Kaye ­Scholer and former Hogan & Hartson partners Hywel Jones and Garry Pegg left for King & Spalding two months into the merger.

The firm’s litigation team has grown wholly through promotions since May 2006, with 11 internal ­promotions. Meanwhile, 10 litigation partners have left or retired in six years, making a net gain of just one partner.

The most additions to the litigation team were in 2007-08 and 2011-12, both with three promotions.

Other practice groups have ­accounted for the bulk of Hogan Lovells’ partner losses recently, with a net loss of 12 partners from teams including IP, media and telecoms, and government/regulatory.

2006-07 was the worst-hit year. Employment partners Mark Taylor and Lisa Mayhew went to Jones Day, IP partner Nicola Dagg moved to Allen & Overy and environment ­partner Louise Moore quit for ­Herbert Smith. Meanwhile, pensions partners John Pearson and Russell Strachan, energy partner Michael Stanger and IP partner Michael ­Golding retired.

2009-10 and the current financial year each saw four partners leave from other practice groups. Together with a handful of exits in other years, total partner departures of 21 from these groups were barely offset by seven promotions and two hires.

It is too early to see if the firm’s ­promotion and hiring focus will change significantly post-merger, but Hogan Lovells remains committed to growing talent internally as well as hiring laterally.