Law Firm Partner Moves in London - Issue 62

March - April 2021

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Welcome to the 62nd edition 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.

There are a total of 83 lateral partner moves in this edition – a 54% increase on last year and 11% up on the statistical average (75) for the same period over the past 5 years. The objectively high number of moves was buoyed by seven firms hiring three or more laterals a-piece. The largest single move was Taylor Wessing’s snatching of a corporate trio from Stephenson Harwood. Although Goodwin Procter also took three laterals from Kirkland & Ellis (two in tax and one in finance), it is probably unlikely that all three were part of a single co-ordinated team move.        


Top partner recruiters in London March – April 2021

Goodwin Procter 4
JMW Solicitors 4
K&L Gates 4
Shearman & Sterling 4
Simmons & Simmons 3
Taylor Wessing 3
White & Case 3

After commercial disputes, which constituted a fifth of all hires, real estate made up the next highest contingent of laterals (12%). In view of the sharp GDP reduction in 2020, and the Covid-induced collapse of the commercial property office investment market, the high proportion of real estate moves is perhaps surprising in a sector traditionally so closely tied to the real economy.  The figures belie a complex unfolding narrative; many real estate laterals represent ejected émigrés, pressured to leave their former homes, arriving at new outfits - sometimes after months of searching. Others represent bold bets by firms opportunistically looking to snap-up top talent by brandishing their real estate credentials to partners whose own firms’ post-Covid commitment to the sector has often been ambiguous.


Also of note in this edition

5 firms hired partners from in-house

22% of all hires were non-partners moving into partnership

27% of the total moves we recorded were female



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.

Scott Gibson, Director

Sloane Poulton, Director

Mark Coates, Senior Consultant


Please click here to understand our methodology for compiling Partner Moves



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