In a year that has been notable for salary cuts, layoffs, associate deferrals and smaller bonuses, it should come as no surprise that promotions to partner are also down across the board. Profits are down, and firms are reluctant to increase the number of slices of the shrinking pie. Although not every firm has announced this years promotions yet, plenty have.
Here’s a sampling of prominent firms that have announced a smaller partnership class this year compared to last year: Cleary Gottlieb, Latham & Watkins, Ropes & Gray, Proskauer Rose, Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz, Skadden Arps, Davis Polk, Paul Hastings, Gibson Dunn, Mayer Brown, Kirkland & Ellis. The list of firms bucking the trend is much smaller and those that have promoted larger classes have promoted only marginally more partners while some of the firms with smaller classes have cut promotions by as much as half. Fried Frank for example promoted seven new partners, up from five the previous year, but did so in a year where its total number of attorneys shrank by 26%.