Law Firm Partner Moves in London

March - April 2018

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Welcome to the latest round-up of lateral partner moves in the legal market from Edwards Gibson; where we look back at announced partner-level recruitment activity in London over the past two months and give you a ‘who’s moved where’ update.

In all, there was a total of 65 lateral partner moves announced in this round-up – 33% fewer than the same period last year and 14% fewer than the statistical average for the preceding five year period. This comes on the back of the 22% fall we reported in our last edition. Overall, in the first four months of 2018, the number of lateral partner moves in London is down 27% on 2017 – a drop only partially explained by the 2017 figures being artificially buoyed by the collapse of King & Wood Mallesons’ European verein.

Top partner recruiters in London March – April 2020 

Of note in this edition

  • A three partner move, including a former Head of Real Estate, from DLA Piper, linked to a much larger 50 lawyer ($100 million revenue) team move in the USA, launches a real estate offering by McDermott Will & Emery in London.
  • No fewer than five partner hires – nearly 8% of all recorded moves - were in White Collar Crime with two firms: Macfarlanes, and US firm Greenberg Traurig, launching their European offerings with significant named partners.
  • 20% of all recorded moves were laterals moving for partnership - with Kirkland & Ellis making three such acquisitions. Elsewhere, two partners moved from senior in-house roles into partnership.


Top partner recruiters in London March-April 2018:

Baker McKenzie 3
Druces 3
Kirkland & Ellis 3
McDermott Will & Emery 3


Whilst the number of moves in 2018 is sharply down on the (admittedly record number) we saw last year, it is too soon to determine if this is part of a wider slowdown. Nevertheless, it is interesting to note that, so established has the trend for lateral hiring in London become, that even when hitherto ultra-conservative lateral hirers such as Allen & Overy and Macfarlanes nab two partners apiece, the lack of novelty means that it no longer invokes quite the same comment it once would.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you would like to discuss this article or any other aspect of
the market in more depth.

Scott Gibson, Director or +44 (0)7788 454 080
Sloane Poulton, Director or +44 (0)7967 603 402

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