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Law Practice Management

BigLaw Partner Promotions Plummet, Even at Highly Profitable Wachtell

Posted Nov 30, 2009 11:28 AM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Last year, Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz promoted six attorneys to partner. This year, despite being the most profitable firm in the country, it named only two new partners this month.

And it's far from alone in reducing its ownership ranks. Many BigLaw firms are promoting fewer associates to partner this year, in response to the economic downturn, reports the New York Law Journal.

Among those taking a more cautious approach, promotions are down 25 percent at Latham & Watkins, which named 23 new partners this year, and Ropes & Gray, with eight, cut its new partners by one-third, compared to last year.

Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom named only eight new partners in April, down by more than two-thirds from the 25 attorneys promoted in 2008.

"The bar has been raised on what it means to become an equity partner and to stay an equity partner," consultant Dan DiPietro tells the legal publication. He is the advisory head of Citi Private Bank's law firm group.

Related coverage:

Above the Law: "No Partnership for You!"

Updated at 12:33 p.m. to link to subsequent Above the Law post.

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