Macfarlanes predicts a good year

Wednesday, March 26th, 2008, 16.10
Macfarlanes predicts a good year

Macfarlanes is confident about the year ahead, promoting five to the partnership – a three year high – with three of those falling within the firm’s heavy-hitting corporate department.

Nothing new here: Macfarlanes has always eschewed lateral hires in favour of promoting into the corporate group. But with storm clouds gathering over the markets, shouldn’t the firm’s corporate group be preparing for a slowdown?

Perhaps with some major transactions already under its belt in 2008, it has good reason for feeling optimistic.

In February the firm acted for Pret a Manger in the sandwich chain’s £350m private equity buyout, and helped Australian mining company Alcoa, along with Chinese state mining company Chinalco, raid Rio Tinto for £7.1bn worth of shares.

The mid-market niche in which the firm operates does not seem to have been hard hit by the credit crunch just yet, and private equity deals are still coming in.

The two remaining promotions, one in property and one in contentious construction and engineering, are a tribute to Macfarlanes’ lucrative yet largely unheralded real estate practice.

The group, which has seen three promotions in three years provided around quarter of the firm’s total revenue of £103m last year, and covers everything from acting for shareholders of property funds to conveyancing work for high net worth individuals.

It is notable, however, that there were no promotions in the firm’s other core practice areas: private client and private equity. This is despite having made up two new partners in those groups in the last two years.

Could the looming spectre of a tax crackdown on non-doms be to blame for the lack of new private client partners? If the latest budget sparks an exodus, Macfarlanes’ client list would most likely suffer.

Finally, it was another grim year for female associates, none of whom managed to make partner for the second consecutive year. Yet as recently as 2006, half of the four new partners were women. Fingers crossed for next year then, ladies.

Partnership prospects:
Corporate: sunny
Real estate: Mild
The rest: icy

Previous Partnership 2008 blogs.

Slaughter and May: ladies, long hours and longevity – Thursday, April 10th
Russell Jones & Walker: More to the core – Tuesday, April 8th
A&O in the Middle East: one new partner, back-up on the way – Monday, April 7th
Clifford Chance: Popham puts his money where his mouth isMonday, April 7th
Nabarro, Hunton & HosseiniFriday, April 4th
Addleshaws: managing associatesFriday, April 4th
Nabarro promotions down (under) Thursday, April 3rd
Hunton & Williams: The London eye Thursday, April 3rd
The corporate partnership: Superwomen only?Wednesday, April 2nd
Ashurst promotions: expectation management Wednesday, April 2nd
Pinsents’ Leeds’ ladies take the lead Monday, March 31st
Herbies…continued… Thursday, March 27th
Herbies shakes things upThursday, March 27th
Macfarlanes predicts a good yearThursday, March 26th
Burges Salmon talks the talkWednesday, March 26th
Trowers promotions dwindleTuesday, March 25th
Wragges’ ups the firm’s real estate profileThursday, March 20th
Olswang‘s year of change Thursday, March 20th
Camerons goes East Wednesday, March 19th
Ince & Co: happy days for men in boats Tuesday, March 18th
Freshfields refills partnershipMonday, March 17th