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Research: partnership track now averages ten years

Written by: Richard Simmons
Published on: 15 Nov 2016

It now takes an average of ten years to make partner, new research has found.

Recruiter Origin Legal looked at the 111 partners made up in the London top 20 in 2016, and found that 80 per cent of them had between nine and 13 years’ experience post-qualification. Lawyers who qualified in 2006 were made up in the greatest numbers.

At West End firms, the story was slightly different, with 9 PQE lawyers, or those who were called in 2007, made up in greatest numbers.

Some 21.7 per cent of newly-minted partners at West End firms were less than 9 PQE, compared with 12.6 per cent of new partners in the top 20.

Outside London, Origin also looked at the Midlands, finding that in this region there was less of a spike in lawyers of a certain level being made up, with new partners spread much more evenly in terms of PQE, from those of eight or nine years experience up to those with 15 or 16.

Origin Legal owner Rupert Haxell said: “The decade of experience needed to achieve a partnership role is not a big surprise, but the lack of opportunities after twelve years, especially within the magic circle, highlights how those in this situation need to be seriously considering their next move and quickly.”

Thirty-nine per cent of junior solicitors believe that the law firm partnership model is outdated, prior research has shown.

However Lawyer 2B’s 2015 Student Attitude Survey showed that despite talk of Generation Y wanting “different things” from their careers, 42 per cent said they hoped to work their way up to partnership one day.

For more on how long it takes to make partner in individual firms, check out The Lawyer’s partner prospects series.