Law Firm Partner Moves in London - Issue 80

March - April 2024

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Welcome to the 80th edition of Law Firm Partner Moves in London, from the specialist partner team at 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.

This bi-monthly round up contains 83 partner moves – a decrease of 7% on the number of hires we saw during the same period last year (89); however, it remains up by 7% and 13% on the cumulative five-year and ten-year averages - 78 and 73 respectively.






  • Top partner recruiters in London March – April 2024


Kirkland & Ellis 5 (3 laterals)
Charles Russell Speechlys 4 (2 laterals)
Katten 3 (3 laterals)
Pinsent Masons 3 (3 laterals)
TLT 3 (1 lateral)



The most covetous firm this edition was Kirkland & Ellis, which hired five partners (three laterals), followed by Charles Russell Speechlys, which hired four partners (two laterals). Meanwhile, Katten, Pinsent Masons and TLT hired three partners apiece.

In addition, sixteen firms, hired two partners each: Dentons, Devonshires, DLA Piper, Goodwin Procter, Kingsley Napley, Mayer Brown, McDermott Will & Emery, Osborne Clarke, Paul Hastings, Paul Weiss, Reed Smith, RPC, Simmons & Simmons, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, Trowers & Hamlins and White & Case.


  • Team hires


The most sizable multi-partner team move this edition was Chicago headquartered Katten’s acquisition of a three-partner tax and financial services team from atypical New York firm Curtis Mallet-Prevost Colt & Mosle. Whilst Kirkland & Ellis added three partners (two leveraged finance and one US securities) from Allen & Overy, it is unclear if these constituted a single team move.

Five firms hired two-partner teams: Devonshires (real estate from Kent-based Sharratts); Goodwin Procter (private equity from Travers Smith); RPC (professional indemnity from Mayer Brown); Simpson Thacher (finance from Weil Gotshal & Manges); Trowers & Hamlins (corporate from Gateley).



  • Paul Weiss 2.0 - an abusive relationship with London’s Big Law elite


The past two months have seen Paul Weiss continue its rolling assault on London’s Big Law aristocracy by snatching two more Magic Circle corporate laterals – this time from Linklaters and Clifford Chance respectively. The additional hires mean that last years’ most prolific hirer of lateral partners in London has chalked-up no fewer than 19 laterals since August last year from: Kirkland & Ellis (11); Linklaters (4); Clifford Chance (3) and Ropes & Gray (1).

Whilst outside the scope of this publication – which is limited to London partner hires only - it is emblematic of the Wall Street firm’s European ambitions that, in April, it announced its intention to launch its first continental European office with the hire of two Brussels-based anti-trust laterals from Macfarlanes and Simpson Thacher respectively. 


  • Firms with highest attrition in London (laterals only) March – April 2024


Linklaters 4
Curtis Mallet-Prevost 3
Dechert 3
Allen & Overy 2
Gateley 2
Morgan Lewis   2*
Reed Smith 2
Travers Smith 2
Weil Gotshal & Manges 2

* Both partners exited the firm in 2023.


Linklaters saw the highest attrition losing four laterals this edition. Whilst three of these were to New York headquartered rivals: Paul Weiss (corporate); Skadden (financial services); and White & Case (corporate), the Magic Circle firm also lost a disputes and regulatory enforcement partner to elite UK disputes boutique Pallas Partners.   


  • Partner Promotions 2024


It appears that, with one or two exceptions, internal law firm partner promotions are down - typically 10-20% - on the preceding two years. Whilst some commentators have suggested that this fall is significant, it is important to contextualise. The 2022 and 2023 promotion rounds were exceptional; let’s not forget that two years ago many firms had record years on the back of the “Covid bounce” and, although the market for legal services cooled last year, many of the decisions/promises to promote in 2023 would have been made in 2022 when the market was red hot. This year, with the softer market for legal services feeding through, unsurprisingly, internal promotions have fallen - albeit, for most firms, broadly in line with historical norms. [For a more cynical view on partnership promotions please see our article A lawyer's progress to partnership... and the closing window of opportunity].    



  • Also of note in this edition


  • 41% of all hires (34) were female.
  • 25 lawyers (30%) were elevated to partnership from other law firms.
  • 1 firm hired from in-house: Mayer Brown (from KPMG).



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


Please click here to understand our methodology for compiling Partner Moves

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