The Australian’s end-of-year partnership survey, conducted by Beaton and supported by Macquarie Bank, showed that eight out of the top ten legal employers were national firms in 2015.
Mid-sized national firms also comprised a majority of firms with the fastest-growing partnerships in 2015.
Large firms are less likely to score highly on percentage growth by virtue of their size. Large firms reduced their numbers by an average of 2.8 per cent over the past 12 months.
There were no large firms in the list of the top ten firms for lawyer recruitment or partner recruitment.
Overall recruitment was down: 22 out of 44 firms surveyed made cuts in lawyer numbers, with an average reduction of 0.4 per cent.
The two firms with the greatest growth were both national. Mills Oakley Lawyers topped the chart for lawyer recruitment, growing by 47.2 per cent in the past year (68 full-time positions).
Hall & Wilcox came first for partner recruitment, growing 41.8 per cent over 2015.
Large firms shrank their partnerships by 4.0 per cent on average, with the biggest cuts experienced at Allens (8.7 per cent), Clayton Utz (5.7 per cent), DLA Piper (5.0 per cent), Norton Rose Fulbright (4.4 per cent) and Gilbert + Tobin (4.2 per cent).