Ashurst has asked a number of partners to leave by the end of the current financial year, despite already seeing nearly 30 partner exits since May 2009.
The top 10 U.K. firm asked fewer than 10 partners to leave shortly before Christmas, with most set to depart by the end of April. Ashurst management confirmed to Legal Week that "fewer than 10 partners" had been asked to go, denying the figure was as high as 15.
The total does not include retirees, such as London corporate partners David Kershaw and Alan Kitchin, and most come on top of 27 partners to have left Ashurst's limited liability partnership since May 1.
Details of the 27 members already standing down from the LLP are contained within records filed at Companies House, with these departures a mix of retirees and voluntary exits or those at the request of management. Two of the 27 have remained with the firm as consultants.
Ashurst had 235 partners on May 1, 2009, and the firm stressed it expects its partner count to be broadly static by the end of April despite the latest exits. Ashurst has recruited eight new partners in the current financial year as well as hiring 13 partners in the U.S. from McKee Nelson in April 2009. The firm is also understood to be in advanced talks to sign a three-partner Italian team.
Ashurst senior partner Charlie Geffen said: "There have certainly been changes to the partnership over the last year, including a number of lateral hires. We are expecting overall partner numbers to remain at broadly the same level."
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