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London law firms hire partners at record pace amid US pressure

London law firms hire partners at record pace amid US pressure

Law firm partner hires in London hit record levels in the first half of the year compared to 2023, according to a new report.

The 265 hires between January and June were up from 257 in the same period last year, U.K. recruiting firm Edwards Gibson said in the report. A desire by U.S. law firms to compete for talent in London helped boost the results.

“The impact of covid New York on the top tiers of the London legal services market in such a short period has been profound – certainly greater than any previous law firm launch or relaunch this city has seen,” the report said.

London companies have been dealing for years with growing competition from U.S. carriers that have flooded the market. U.S. companies have been hiring talent and financing the changes through their scale and ability to raise rates.

Paul Weiss has scrapped its partner pay system to make way for big-ticket new hires, including mergers and acquisitions and private equity partners at its London office. U.K. law firms including Linklaters, which has lost its place at the top of the London legal market that it held a decade ago, have increased their salaries to stay competitive.

Law firms including Simmons & Simmons, Kirkland & Ellis and Pinsent Masons were among the top recruiters of partners since January, the Edwards Gibson report said. This year’s hires are 7% above the five-year average, the firm found.

Deloitte Legal, Linklaters and Paul Hastings were among the firms that suffered the most losses in London since January, according to the report.