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November / December 2018 round up of lateral partner moves in London

Click here for Partner Moves November - December 2018


Welcome to the latest round-up of lateral partner moves in the legal market from Edwards Gibson; where we look back at announced partner-level recruitment activity in London over the past two months and give you a ‘who’s moved where’ update.


This edition concludes our Lateral Partner Moves for 2018 and we have included some facts and figures below comparing the year’s partner-level recruitment activity with that of over the past five years.


A summary of 2018


2018 saw a total of 425 announced lateral partner moves – 6% down on the cumulative five-year average and a whopping 16% down on the record 504 we saw in 2017. 


Although the market in 2018 was clearly softer than in the preceding two years, it should be remembered that both the 2016 and 2017 figures were significantly elevated due to the distorting impact of the insolvent collapse of King & Wood Mallesons’ European Verein.  Indeed, the appetite of London law firms for hiring laterals in 2018 was surprisingly robust bearing in mind the economic uncertainties of a looming global trade war, fraught BREXIT negotiations, and the prospect of a snap general election arising from the inherent instability of the UK’s hung parliament.




There were no large (five-partner plus) team moves announced in 2018. The largest single team hire was by Milbank, which kicked off the year by raiding fellow New York firm Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft for a four-partner restructuring/ insolvency team.


Whilst plenty of firms hired six or more partners in 2018, the most acquisitive firm by far was White & Case which snapped up an astonishing 17 laterals.   


Top partner recruiters in London 2018


White & Case                                      17
Fladgate                                             11
Eversheds                                            9
DWF                                                    9
Baker McKenzie                                    8

In addition, Latham & WatkinsMayer BrownMorgan Lewis, Osborne Clarke and Pinsent Masons each hired 7 partners, and Addleshaw Goddard, AshurstCharles Russell SpeechlysDLA PiperGreenberg TraurigFieldfisherIrwin MitchellKirkland & EllisMilbankSimmons & Simmons, and Stephenson Harwood all managed to snare a respectable half-dozen laterals. 


Other stats from 2018


  • 26% of the lateral moves we recorded were female partners – a similar number to the 25% we saw in 2017;
  • 110 lawyers moved from non-partner roles into partnership in 2018 (26% of the total number of moves) – the highest    proportion we have ever recorded.

November - December 2018


This bi-monthly round-up contains 61 lateral partner moves – almost exactly the same as the 60 we saw over the same period last year. Womble Bond Dickinson and US firm Greenberg Traurig, which has continued its aggressive European expansion, hired 3 partners a-piece. However, the most acquisitive firm in this edition was Fladgate, which hired 4 partners, making it the runner-up for the highest number of London laterals in 2018.


Please do not hesitate to contact us if you would like to discuss this article or any other aspect of the market in more depth.


The Edwards Gibson Team









Previous Issues:

Partner Moves September - October 2018

Partner Moves July - August 2018

Partner Moves May - June 2018

Partner Moves March - April 2018

Partner Moves January - February 2018



Partner Moves November - December 2017

Partner Moves September - October 2017

Partner Moves July - August 2017

Partner Moves May - June 2017

Partner Moves March - April 2017

Partner Moves January - February 2017



Partner Moves November - December 2016

Partner Moves September - October 2016 

Partner Moves July - August 2016 

Partner Moves May - June 2016

Partner Moves March - April 2016

Partner Moves January - February 2016



Partner Moves November - December 2015

Partner Moves September - October 2015

Partner Moves July - August 2015

Partner Moves May - June 2015

Partner Moves March - April 2015

Partner Moves January - February 2015



Partner Moves November - December 2014

Partner Moves September - October 2014

Partner Moves July - August 2014

Partner Moves May - June 2014

Partner Moves March - April 2014

Partner Moves January - February 2014



Partner Moves November - December 2013

Partner Moves Sep - Oct 2013

Partner Moves July - August 2013

Partner Moves May - June 2013 

Partner Moves March - April 2013

Partner Moves January - February 2013



Partner Moves November - December 2012

Partner Moves September - October 2012

Partner Moves July - August 2012

Partner Moves May - June 2012

Partner Moves March - April 2012

Partner Moves January - February 2012



Partner Moves November - December 2011

Partner Moves September - October 2011

Partner Moves July - August 2011

Partner Moves May - June 2011 

Partner Moves March - April 2011

Partner Moves January - February 2011


For further information, or to discuss current trends in lateral partner recruitment, please speak to one of the Edwards Gibson consultants.

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