1. Top 50 U.K. firms show 38 percent increase in number of partners. Reports Legal Week:
Partner promotions across the U.K.’s 50 largest law firms by revenue increased by more than a third this year, buoyed by growing market confidence and a cluster of transatlantic mergers.
Total partner promotions across the group stood at 495 globally in 2011, compared with 358 the previous year--an increase of just over 38 percent.
As in the U.S., the rate of promotion for women at the big U.K. firms has been static: "In total there were 125 new female partners in 2011, equating to 25 percent of the total round--roughly the same proportion as last year."
2. Signs that there will be fewer legal jobs. Despite the increase in new partners, there are troubling signs that there will be far fewer positions for new lawyers in the near future. RollOnFriday reports that Allen & Overy will be shrinking its incoming class of trainees by 25 percent from its 2008 peak:
Back in the heady pre-credit-crunch days, the firm took on 120 trainees a year. Since then the number has fallen to 105, and by 2014 it will fall again, to just 90. A spokesman for the firm said that the move is "market- related," and added, "London law firms used to enjoy 10 percent year-on-year growth; those days are probably over for the foreseeable future."
RollOn notes that about "4,874 training contracts were registered between August 2009 and July 2010. If every law firm follows A&O's lead, then 1,218 students who would have found training contracts in the past could be flipping burgers."
3. The Brits are snootier--or don't hide it as well. RollOn Friday also reports that Slaughter and May got itself in hot water recently. The firm hired First Counsel, a recruiting firm, which posted "a pompous and apparently xenophobic job advertisement." Here's what the offending ad said (it has since been removed):
Perhaps counterintuitively, the firm is not as exacting in terms of its requirements as one might expect and will happily consider lawyers from Australia, New Zealand, and Brussels.
As RollOn points out, it was awfully swell that this superelite firm would lower its standards to hire "convicts, sheep stealers, and mussel munchers!" But, hey, how about us uncouth Americans?
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