Legal Business

Shock horror: economic revival makes it as impossible as ever to make partner

It’s not going to come as a huge shock to our readership of jaded veterans to hear this but the 2014 promotion rounds from the UK’s top law firms have confirmed that the striking revival in business confidence over the last 12 months has made pretty much no improvement in partnership prospects.

Yes – my back-of-the-envelope calculations are that the Magic Circle plus Herbert Smith Freehills, Norton Rose Fulbright, Hogan Lovells and Ashurst have added only 193 individuals to the club despite fielding between them partnerships of well over 5,000. The 2014 promotions round at these firms is equivalent on average to less than 4% of their partnerships – well below the replacement rate needed to sustain their ranks.