Older partners at bigger law firms are likely to be moved aside to make room for younger colleagues who are promoted earlier than their counterparts at smaller firms, according to latest sector research.
Law firm management consultancy Edward Drummond says leading law firms are ‘aggressively meritocratic’.
Its research, published yesterday, found that 72% of partners at the UK’s top 10 law firms are aged 50 or under, whereas this is only the case for 60% of partners at UK firms overall.
Partners at top-10 law firms are, on average, almost two years younger than the national sector average.
Edward Drummond said leading law firms are ‘aggressively meritocratic so top talent tends to be promoted earlier, and older partners also tend to be moved aside more pro-actively to make room for younger partners or as their income generation slows’.
The consultancy states this is a good opportunity for smaller, mid-tier firms to hire experienced partners who do not want to retire early.
However it warns that some prospective new partners may overestimate their ability to bring clients with them.
Edward Drummond partner Gareth Ward (pictured) said: ‘Sometimes there can be a disconnect between what the firm thinks they’re hiring, based on what partners believe they can deliver, and the reality.
‘Top firms usually manage their partners’ exits very carefully, ensuring that relationships with existing clients remain institutional rather than personal.
‘Partners’ ability to bring clients with them when they move on can often be highly restricted.’