Partners on the up and up

In the midst of a worldwide recovery, promotions in the UK hit a three-year peak

Domestic partnership promotions are on the rise, hitting a three-year high of 142 for The Lawyer UK Top 20. The figure represents a 27.9 per cent increase on 2013, when just 111 new promotions were made in the UK (that was down on 131 promoted in 2012). 

Better yet, these encouraging figures reflect an international trend, with the number of new partners up to 351 globally (excluding DWF, which announced 10 promotions in November and Taylor Wessing, which is yet to vote on 2014 promotions). 

This is 15.1 per cent up on 2012, when the same group of firms – again, minus DWF – brought in 305 new partners.

The increase marks a significant turnaround for the profession globally, with many preparing for growth again after a serious slump post-2008. Across the top 20, firms are preparing to announce year-end figures, with many predicting growth of around 5 per cent.

The largest promotions round this year came from the biggest firm on the list: DLA Piper. Of 45 promotions, 21 were in the US. The number of partners made up in the UK has risen to seven, up from four last year – though this is still below its 2012 levels, when 12 joined the partnership in the UK.

Eversheds had the largest domestic round, accounting for 12 out of a worldwide total of 21. Last year, the figure was 10.

Herbert Smith Freehills, Hogan Lovells and Pinsent Masons all made up 11 each in the UK. In Pinsents’ case, that’s 11 out of 15 overall, making it the most UK-centric in promotion terms.

Outside the UK, Europe evidently dominates with a total of 80 new partners across the top 20. That includes the largest round for the CMS network, which took 26 into the fold. DLA was the only other firm to make double-digit promotions on the continent, adding 10. Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer added eight.

Growth in the US continues to be a feature, with 49 new partners across the board. Of these, 21 (42.9 per cent) came from DLA and 15 (30.6 per cent) from Hogan Lovells.

Interestingly Asia is also becoming a dominant market, with many firms looking to balance global portfolios by investing in Asia Pacific and Australia. Combined, the two regions accounted for 14.4 per cent of new partners in 2014 – that’s 52 in all, with 34 in Asia and 18 in Australia.

For many associates, this will be encouraging news. Partnership prospects are improving in line with economic growth, which can only be a good thing.

partner proms