Magic circle associates revel in promotion boom

In a bumper haul for magic circle associates, Allen & Overy (A&O) elected 32 associates to the partnership this year, while Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer promoted 22 and Clifford Chance and Linklaters both voted in 38.

Linklaters increased its partnership round by 18.75 per cent on last year. The firm’s finance and projects team was the biggest winner with 18 promotions, while 15 were appointed in corporate.

Freshfields announced nine new partners to its corporate team with a further five for the finance department. A&O’s corporate team overtook banking for the first time with 10 to banking’s eight, while Clifford Chance’s corporate team (12 partners) outperformed its banking team (eight) for the second year in a row.

Overall A&O was slightly down on last year’s figures, promoting 32 associates to partner this year compared with 33 in 2006-07, which remains its highest promotional round for the past three years.

However, A&O marked a first for its London office by promoting 17 associates to the newly created role of counsel.

A&O HR director Genevieve Tennant said: “We believe introducing the new counsel role shows that we’re serious and innovative about our approach to solving complex HR issues.”

Freshfields doubled its partner intake with 22 promotions. This is despite a turbulent year at the firm. An undisclosed number of new partners will join the non-equity layer, which will mark the first internal promotions to this role since the position was created in June 2006.

The New York office of A&O saw five promotions, while Clifford Chance and Linklaters made up three each in the city. Freshfields did not promote any lawyers in the US after making up three last year.