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Aggressively Meritocratic Law Firms Mean Younger Partners, Says Survey

The bigger the law firm, the younger the age – so reports a research report from Edward Drummond, a law firm consultancy.

The report showed that 72 per cent of partners at the UK’s top 10 law firms are 50 years or younger, while this the figure for the UK overall is 60 per cent. The average partner age at the top 10 firms is almost two years younger than the national average.

The reason is due to the “aggressively meritocratic” approach taken by law firms so top talent tends to be promoted earlier, according to the report. Older partners are moved over to make room for the younger ones.

But this development presents opportunities for mid-tier firms, says Edward Drummond.  They can  hire experienced partners who wish to continue their careers rather than retire early.

“The more rapid lifecycle of partners at the biggest law firms can give smaller, mid-tier firms a chance to snap up high profile partners with an impressive track record – but taking on a new partner is a big investment for these firms, so it’s a decision that needs to be taken carefully,” says Edward Drummond partner Gareth Ward.

Edward Drummond warns that smaller firms need to ensure that these partners are likely to add real value beyond the prestige they bring with them. Firms need to be able to identify those candidates who are not only ambitious to build up their new practice but who also have realistic prospects of bringing in enough new business to cover their costs.

It explains that some prospective new partners may overestimate their ability to bring clients with them because large law firms tend to ensure that key client relationships are institutional – rather than personal to individual partners.

Source: Lawyer Monthly

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