City firms defer partner promotions

updated on 04 May 2020

Two leading City firms have delayed partner promotions due to pandemic pressures.

Ashurst has delayed partner promotions until later this year due to “continuing market uncertainty”. Although a final partner vote is yet to take place, the admission committee has already selected candidates who are expected to be compensated in November, when employee salary reviews will also be reinstated, according to the Law Gazette.

A spokesperson for the firm said: “We have an outstanding group of future partners and we want to ensure they are set up for success in relation to this next important step in their careers. We continue to monitor global market developments and look forward to celebrating the achievements of our new partners when we have a clearer understanding of ongoing market movements and their longer-term impacts on our business.”

The international firm has also implemented additional cash-saving measures, including a 20% reduction in the monthly sums paid to partners for the next six months and employees have been encouraged to take up an 80% work pattern for three months from May. Those who work in the busiest areas and those paid below a certain threshold have been excluded from the scheme. Deferrals to salary reviews have also been implemented until November and bonuses have been split into two tranches.

Simmons & Simmons has also delayed its partner promotions until later this year: “The annual partner promotions process has been slightly delayed but will continue as planned in June using video conferencing. We are pleased that technology will enable us to continue with this significant stage in our associates’ careers”, a spokesperson for the firm said.

However, not all firms have announced delays to partner promotions because of coronavirus. In fact, several have announced strong partner promotions rounds this month, including City firm Herbert Smith Freehills and magic circle firm Linklaters.