Editor's comment: A smaller round
Here's a safe bet as the annual partnership season creaks into gear: this year will offer even more conclusive proof than usual that the economy is a major determiner of partnership decisions at corporate law firms. And firms will once again publicly pretend it isn't. This denial will come despite what will be a clear pattern among the new promotions. The numbers of new partners made will generally be down on 2008, transactional promotions will be far less common than normal and internationally-focused firms will be particularly slow to make up partners in London (some promotions will be linked to working abroad). For related reasons, there will be more restructuring and litigation promotions. Consider the partner promotions unveiled already, with Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Addleshaw Goddard, Halliwells and Ince & Co between them covering much of the widely-differing constituencies that make up the UK top 50. Aside from the insurance-driven Ince, all promotions are down, sharply so in the case of Freshfields, which this year made up 14 partners against 25 in 2008. The fall in Freshfields' promotions was striking in London where only two partners received the nod - against 10 the previous year.
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