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KWM downplays Europe in 36-strong partnership round with only two made up in the City

King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) has made up just two London partners, focused on boosting its real estate offering, in an expanded global promotions round this year that saw 36 lawyers join the partnership.

The firm’s 2015 partner promotions saw 10 more lawyers make partner this year, but slimmed down its investment in Europe as two-thirds of the promotions were made in China. While nine of the firm’s 26 partner promotions last year came from the firm’s European network, acquired through its merger with City corporate firm SJ Berwin in late 2013, just four European lawyers made the cut this time around. This means that European promotions as part of the round fell from 35% to 11%.

Twenty-four lawyers across six Chinese offices, from Shenzhen in the south to Beijing in the north, were made up this year as the firm more than doubled its partner promotions in the world’s second biggest economy.

The firm moved to build on recent growth in its City real estate practice, already bulked up by a triple hire from Eversheds that included former real estate chief William Naunton followed by a further partner trio and a team of associates in April. Real estate lawyers Simon Tager, known for his work advising UK high street retailer Marks & Spencer, and Patrick Williams were the firm’s sole City promotions.

There were no corporate promotions in London this year after both of the firm’s City promotions in 2014 hailed from KWM’s renowned City corporate group, which has suffered from a series of damaging exits over the past 12 months as private equity heavyweights Steven Davis and Richard Lever departed the firm.

However, the firm’s other two promotions in Europe for 2015 both came from the corporate group, with Pablo Diaz made up in Madrid and Bertrand Geradin promoted in Luxembourg. Four corporate partners were made up across the firm’s European network last year.

KWM recently finished a partnership review that could see up to 10% of its European and Middle East partners exited from the firm. The firm has also sublet space at its London, Paris and Frankfurt offices as part of cost-cutting measures implemented across the region.

Managing partner of KWM, Stuart Fuller, said: ‘These promotions are directly aligned to our approach of building our capability around our client’s needs – both enhancing our depth in the local markets in which we operate, as well as strengthening the global platform of the firm. From Asia to Europe to Australia, our new partners are evidence of the strong pipeline of future leaders coming through the firm and of the firm’s commitment to the promotion of our people to partnership in the firm.’