Welcome to the latest round up of lateral partner moves in the London legal market from Edwards Gibson, where we look back at partner-level recruitment activity in London over the past two months and give you a ‘who’s moved where’ update.
This edition concludes our Lateral Partner Moves for 2016 and we have included some facts and figures below comparing the year’s partner-level recruitment activity with that of 2015.
2016 was a dramatic year for the London lateral partner market. Brexit, the announcement in October of a tripartite merger between CMS Cameron McKenna, Nabarro and Olswang to form a £1 billion legal leviathan and in December, King & Wood Mallesons’ (KWM’s) European Verein’s pending insolvent collapse will influence the market for years to come.
2016 saw a total of 493 announced lateral partner moves (up 27% from the 390 we recorded last year). The second half of the year (post-Brexit) also saw a more measured 13% rise on the same period last year. However, but for the distorting impact of jettisoned KWM partners being forced into the market, the second half of 2016 would actually have seen a decline of around 5% on the same period in 2015. Indeed, so distorting have been the death rattles of KWM that émigrés from the firm made up nearly 12% of all announced lateral partner hires in London in 2016.
It is likely that the imminent demise of KWM in January 2017 will prove equally as distorting to the lateral figures at the start of 2017 as a slew of new homes are announced for the remaining partners at the firm.
In view of the above, unsurprisingly, this round-up is dominated by the consequences of the disintegration of KWM with partners from that firm making up 47 of the 84 moves (56%) announced in the two-month period of November- December 2016.
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