Law Firm Partner Moves in London - Issue 68

March - April 2022

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Welcome to the 68th edition of law firm partner moves, from the specialist partner team at 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 bi-monthly round-up contains 79 partner moves – unsurprisingly down 5% on the 83 we saw for the same period in 2021 (a record year in real terms), but comfortably above the cumulative five-year and ten-year averages - 71 and 68 respectively. In terms of laterals (partner-to-partner hires), there were 60 in total, an 8% drop on the 65 this time last year.




The most acquisitive firm this edition was international verein Squire Patton Boggs, which hired five partners (four lateral, one vertical), across white collar crime, privacy, and projects. 

The two most striking moves this edition were: Boston-born Ropes & Gray’s swipe on US rival, Fried Frank, for a three-partner private equity team; and Linklaters’ raid on Houston headquartered Vinson & Elkins for a leveraged finance/ high yield trio. The Linklaters hire marks the third large-scale grab on the beleaguered London office of Vinson & Elkins over the past 9 months - which has also seen it lose similar sized private equity/ finance teams to Sidley & Austin and Gibson Dunn & Crutcher

Linklaters is far from the only magic circle firm to hire this edition: Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance,and Freshfields welcome laterals from Skadden (international arbitration), Norton Rose (TMT), and Dickson Minto (private equity) respectively. Indeed, 2022 has seen the usually conservative magic circle cabal hire 10 partners so far.

In addition to Linklaters and Ropes & Gray, over the past two months, two other firms have taken on three partner teams:  Harbottle & Lewis (TMT and data privacy from Deloitte Legal) and Osborne Clarke (energy and finance from Orrick). Simmons & Simmons also joins the list of top recruiters this edition with three hires comprising a leading real estate duo from Stephenson Harwood and a vertical hire in renewable energy from Clifford Chance. Similarly, DLA welcomed three laterals across project finance, public law, and tax from Shearman & Sterling, Bates Wells, and BCLP, respectively.


  • Top partner recruiters in London March– April 2022
 Squire Patton Boggs  5  
 DLA Piper  3  
 Harbottle & Lewis  3  
 Linklaters  3  
 Osborne Clarke  3  
 Ropes & Gray  3  
 Simmons & Simmons  3  


  • Team hires in London March– April 2022
Harbottle & Lewis  3  
Linklaters  3  
Osborne Clarke  3  
Ropes & Gray  3  
Edwin Coe  2  
Simmons & Simmons  2  


Of interest to avid market watchers is the rare appearance in this edition of the intensely secretive Dickson Minto, which sees the c. 25 partner Scottish/ London private equity boutique lose no fewer than two private equity laterals to Freshfields and (reportedly) King & Spalding respectively.         

In March 2022 Laytons ETL Global acquired real estate boutique Cannings Connolly; Edwards Gibson does not record the transfer of individual partners to their new entity on merger as a “partner move”, but for reference, this merger resulted in the transfer of only two laterals with a further five partners decamping to alternative law firm Gunnercooke.  

Also of note in this edition

  • Two firms hired from in-house: Dechert (from Bank of America Merrill Lynch) and Reed Smith (from Novartis)
  • 37% of all hires were female 
  • 24% of all moves were non-partners moving into partnership


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.

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