Off track – why associates face a long wait to break into the top ranks of UK law firms
Junior lawyers may not be under any illusions about the challenges facing them on the track to partnership – but the size and scale of that challenge has been starkly illustrated by new Legal Week research that plainly sets out the increasing length of time UK associates are now required to put in before making partner. Analysis of this year's partnership data shows the average post-qualification experience (PQE) held by newly qualified UK partners at top 10 firms this year stands at 10.6 years – an increase of almost 30% on the equivalent figure of 8.2 in 2006. And the standard set by the country's largest firms has been broadly replicated by their smaller contemporaries, with the average partner track across the top 50 now standing at 10.5 years. One senior partner at a top 10 law firm commented: "It is undoubtedly taking people longer to make partner and I suspect it is the case at all firms. We need to keep promoting the best people to partnership, but law firms are changing after years of double-digit growth – fewer people are now getting through."
With the path to the top longer and tougher than ever, is the lure of partnership fading? Gerard Starkey reports
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