Research by the legal magazine Legal Week has found that there were 439 partner terminations at the top 20 law firms’ UK LLPs in 2011-12.
According to the research, 342 of the 439 partners who resigned from their firms’ UK LLPs between 1 May 2011 and 30 April 2012 actually left their firms altogether, which equated to 78 per cent of the LLP exits.
The research also found that these firms collectively appointed 669 members to their LLPs over the 12-month period, either through promotion, lateral hiring or transfers from other offices.
A second study, by accountancy firm Wilkins Kennedy, has found that, due to the recession, the total number of partners at UK law firms as a whole fell by 153 between 1 July 2011 and 30 June 2012 – the first drop since 2008-09. The fall has been attributed to a decline in the number of solicitors and associates being promoted to partner and the rise in law firm mergers, where partner numbers have dropped due to the consolidation of practice areas.
The study also revealed that law firms are struggling to remain profitable following the opening up of the legal services market and that some partners at smaller law firms have been forced to delay their retirement plans due to falling annuities.