Accessibility Links

Partnership rates dropping globally

Posted by: Laurence Simons 17/05/13

The pinnacle of a career for many lawyers in private practice is being offered a partnership, giving them the chance to become owners and joint directors of a company as well as the possibility of making huge amounts of money in the future.

Other perks such as getting a corner office and an inspirational print of your choice on the wall, first dibs on the fruit box when it arrives, and a fresh vase of flowers every morning are also influential drivers in the industry.

However, the bad news for lawyers across the globe is that partnership rates are moving down almost everywhere, perhaps because of the straitened economic conditions prevalent around the world.

London partnership promotions at the UK's top 30 law firms fell to 101 this year, down by 17 per cent from last year's figure of 121, reports Legal Weekly. In total, 370 partners were made up across the country, still eight per cent less than was recorded in 2012.

What's more, the chance of getting your name on a fancy business card was no better in the US, where promotions dropped by 22 per cent - only 46 partners were made over the course of the year.

Asia also performed badly, meaning that Europe was the only region to do relatively well in remaining static, with 117 partners made up rather than the 122 seen last year.

Clifford Chance senior partner Malcolm Sweeting said: "Whatever one may conclude about Europe's long-term economic prospects, Europe currently accounts for a quarter of global GDP and continues to generate a lot of economic and commercial activity and work for law firms."

Only six firms in the top 30, including A&O, Herbert Smith Freehills and Bird & Bird, offered more partnerships in the Asian market this year than they did in 2012 - despite the fact that this is generally considered an area where firms are enjoying strong growth.

Simmons & Simmons senior partner Colin Passmore cited "a premium on talent" as a major problem in Asia.