Average Age of City Law Firm Partners Under 45

| General

A new body of research has been released by Hazlewood’s which has discovered that some of the leading providers of corporate legal services in the City of London had made the decision to promote comparatively more colleagues into the position of partner than colleagues employed in other spheres of the legal profession. 

What Did The Stats Say…?

The statistics revealed some interesting talking points on the state of play in the legal profession, including but not limited to:

  • around forty per cent of City law firms are under forty four years of age because legal professionals from younger age groups are being attracted, recruited and retained by the offers of substantial compensation packages within easy reach of those working in this sector
  • approximately thirty per cent of legal professionals who have achieved the accolade of partner who are employed across the legal landscape are under forty-four years of age.
  • the results of the investigation also revealed that growing numbers of legal professionals are taking the decision to take early retirement from professional life
  • the investigation found that those taking such decisions to retire early from their careers in this way are motivated with the desire to gain a large lump sum pay-off from a major provider of legal services and 
  • there is an apparent correlative and causative link between these decisions by those aforementioned partners to retire, the career progression gaps which inevitably open up by the exodus of those senior partners of the respective City Law firms and the now resulting colossal drop in the average age group of law firm partners

Highest Pay-outs to Retirees?

The Hazlewoods Survey examined what had been taking place over the previous nine months from January to September in the year 2022 in this regard. The Survey looked into firms from the Magic Circle which have made making the largest pay-outs to outgoing retirees. It is well known in the legal profession that these firms consist of those firms with a London base and the name given to the group of the following legal service providers:

  • Slaughter & May
  • Allen & Overy
  • Linklaters
  • Clifford Chance and
  • Freshfield Bruckhaus Deringer. 

These firms are known to be the cream of the crop in terms of being the leading thinkers within the legal profession and these firms top the tree when it comes to firm incomes. Out of the five Magic Circle firms which are listed above, the Hazlewood Survey identified two of them as notable for the high levels of pay out they have made to their retiring partners. These are Freshfields and Clifford Chance who both collectively broke the financial ceiling in making a substantial two million pound pay out to prospective retirees.

Is this the Situation Across The Board

The perception from lay persons reading the headlines would be that lawyers are all greedy fat cats who are raking it in and retiring early. However, this is not the case when it comes to other areas of the legal profession. To put the issue into some form of context and in stark contrast to the apparent situation in the corporate law sphere, the Hazlewood Survey revealed that in the criminal law sector under a quarter of partners from legal service providers specialising in this are were below the age of forty four years of age. 

Continuing Trend?

This latter aspect of the Hazlewood survey appears to be a continuation pattern of a trend which has emerged in recent years. This is the comparative deficit in the numbers of young legal professionals making the decision to commit themselves to a career in criminal law and instead are selecting more lucrative legal areas. 

Written By Adam Green


#AddleshawGoddard #CMS #Dentons #DLAPiper #EvershedsSutherlandLLP #OsborneClarke #RPC #BakerMcKenzie #Bird&BirdLLP #BryanCaveLeightonPaisner #GowlingWLG #LinklatersLLP #MishcondeReyaLLP #PinsentMasonsLLP #ShoosmithsLLP 


[SOURCE 1] Goss, Louis – City law firms have youngest partners, new research shows– 31 August 2022 – City A.M. - City law firms have youngest partners, new research shows (cityam.com)

[SOURCE 2] Prospects – Magic Circle Law Firms – June 2022 - Top UK law firms | Prospects.ac.uk

[SOURCE 3] Goss, Louis – London’s elite Magic Circle law firms promote record number of partners as talent war rages on – City A.M. - London's elite Magic Circle law firms promote record number of partners as talent war rages on (cityam.com)



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