NEW FIGURES from the UK show associates are waiting longer to be appointed to the partnership, but still not as long as Australian lawyers.
The latest round of UK promotions have revealed that lawyers are waiting an average of 8.6 years, post qualification, to be made partner, compared with 8.1 years in 2004.
Slaughter and May and Allen & Overy made the fastest partnership appointments of the magic circle firms, with lawyers at Slaughter and May taking just seven years and Allen & Overy taking 7.8 years.
Lawyers at Ashurst and Lovells saw a significant drop in the time it took to be made partner, with a partnership track of less than 8 years.
Clifford Chance, Eversheds and CMS Cameron McKenna reported slight increases in the length of time to appoint partners, and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Eversheds and Norton Rose averaged nine years or more to make partner.
However, the average length of time spent on the partnership path in the UK is still a lot shorter than in Australia. The average pre-appointment period in Australia is 12 years, according to Mahlab Recruitment’s Private Practice Survey 2006.
Joanne Glanz, executive consultant at Mahlab, said the length of time depends on the availability of partnership opportunities.
“At the outside it’s 11-12 years. When looking at the length of time it takes, I think it’s about how much you can break up the pie which depends on how many people are coming through. There’s a huge number of criteria involved and no guarantees,” she said.
However, Glanz believes that it takes on average 8-10 years in the major Australian firms if a lawyer is very talented.
The tough competition means that only the truly dedicated will stick around long enough to make it to partner.
“A lot of people from the two years up level start moving around, be it overseas or in-house. There’s a huge attrition rate, so the ones that are staying are relatively small. There are a lot of other options nowadays and only the truly committed will be in the one place for that length of time,” Glanz said.