M&A specialist Travers Smith has ignored its largest practice area in the annual promotions round.

The firm has promoted four new partners, one each in pensions, litigation, corporate recovery and employment.

Last year, three of the four promotions were in the corporate group, with new partners in funds, private equity and corporate finance.

The associates promoted in 2009 are Andrew Block in pensions, Tim Gilbert in employment, Peter Hughes in corporate recovery and Toby Robinson in litigation.

As in 2007, no women were invited to join the partnership, although private equity specialist Helen Croke was made up in 2008.

Travers has slashed the number of new partners made up since the start of the credit crunch. The firm promoted a record nine in 2007, but just four in 2008 and 2009.

The new partners join a salaried rung, after Travers increased in 2007 the amount of time a junior partner must wait until joining  the equity from two years to three.