Falling retirement rate thwarts ambitions

August 9, 2012 One in seven lawyers believe that their pursuit of promotion to partnership status is being hindered by fewer partners retiring from their firm, according to a new survey of leading UK law firms conducted by legal recruitment firm Laurence Simons.

And indeed the retirement figures support their complaint: the number of law firm partners retiring annually fell by one third in the past 15 years, and the UK abolished its default retirement age of 65 last year.

Since 1990, the number of solicitors has grown by 89 per cent, while the number of partners has risen by just 40 per cent in the same period.

“The decrease in retirement figures has had a negative effect on promotion opportunities at all levels,” explained Guy Adams, director co-head of private practice at Laurence Simons.

“Where previously, years of tenure guaranteed a relatively quick succession up the corporate ladder, lawyers now have to consider alternative career strategies in order to achieve promotions”.

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