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Fewer associates are winning promotion to partnership this year, a trend industry experts say is a result of the economic downturn. This month, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton elected four new partners firmwide, half as many as in 2008, while Latham & Watkins cut its firmwide promotions 25 percent to 23. Ropes & Gray named one third fewer with eight new partners, while Proskauer Rose named four to partnership, one less than in 2008. Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, the most profitable firm in the country, this month named two new partners, down from six last year.

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