Further evidence that conditions in the legal market are continuing to improve were revealed by Lawyer2B.com’s sister title The Lawyer earlier this week, which reported that law firms are back in hiring mode.
The UK’s top 25 firms are estimated to have recruited 2,133 people in their UK offices in 2009-10 alone. However, the total number of hires is still exceeded by the 2,370 people firms made redundant during the downturn, suggesting management caution has far from subsided.
The highest numbers of hires were made by two firms with large volume businesses, Irwin Mitchell and Eversheds, which recruited 414 and 293 people respectively. Since late 2007 Irwin Mitchell has laid off 16, while Eversheds parted company with 735 (read more).
Another sign that the worst may be behind us is the number of partner promotions being made in recent days. Far from battening down the hatches as worries over a hung Parliament or a potential double-dip recession continue to linger many firms are accepting a growing number of associates into the ranks of their partnerships.
First, SJ Berwin baulked at suggestions that its partnership was floundering by upping its number of new partners, if only by one (see story). Then Herbert Smith went and did even better, promoting nearly 50 per cent more than last year (read more).
Last week, Lovells celebrated its all-singing, all-dancing American tie-up by making up its highest number of associates since the halcyon days of 2007 (see story).
Let’s hope the optimism trickles down to graduate recruitment.