Law Firm Partnerships Hard To Come By In 2009

The Australian newspaper reported yesterday….

PARTNERSHIP season in June is set to be one of the most disappointing on record, with a mere handful of lawyers likely to be promoted to equity partner.

And as a result, the careers of large numbers of ambitious solicitors are about to come to a grinding halt.

"There are going to be fewer partnerships, fewer progressions and I will venture to say in some firms, none," says law firm consultant George Beaton. "I think it’s going to be the leanest season we’ve seen in most people’s lifetimes for equity partnership."

Beaton, who is managing principal of Beaton Consulting, says firms are already making equity partners take salaried partnership, placing some partners on extended secondments with clients and even asking partners to take early retirement.

Last week, Allens Arthur Robinson said it expected the profit share for the firm’s partners would be cut.

And this week, Freehills introduced the innovative new role of executive counsel as an alternative to partnership. The new position is right for the times: it gives top lawyers career progression — and more money — while falling just short of partnership.

Freehills managing partner Peter Butler says the role was an Australian-first and was aimed at holding on to senior lawyers who do not wish to become equity partners for lifestyle and work-life-balance reasons.


Read the full article at,28124,25376447-17044,00.html