Simon Chadwick of Espero Consulting shares the real data for associate and partner hires and leavers across the major European law firms in October 2016…

In a recent article, I echoed the thoughts of many that it appears to be true that many law firms in the UK and Europe have taken a more cautious route to hiring since the shock Brexit vote of June 23rd this year. This caution may have been intensified due to the appointment of the new President-Elect of the USA. I suggested that in view of notice periods, many of the partner and associate hires that happened in September may have been conceived prior to the Brexit vote.

I made the observation that the October figures for partner and associate hires across the Top 100 European law firms could get us closer to the truth of the matter as the month of October falls just outside a three month (notice) period from June 23rd.

So, what are the hiring figures for October 2016 and what do those figures tell us…? The findings from research commissioned by Espero Consulting this month tell an interesting story.

Espero’s figures show that the Top 100 law firms in Europe hired more than 800 new lawyers at partner or associate level in October 2016 – up by a third from almost 600 in September. The number of partners and associates those firms lost in October was close to 600 – a far higher figure than the previous month’s leavers figure of 50.

This begs the question “Has the ‘Brexit-Effect’ caused many firms to take a breath at all?” Recruitment activity over the coming months will be an interesting benchmark and will tell the real story. Certainly it would appear that candidates are finding new homes at an increasing rate; clearly carrying on unperturbed by either Brexit – or indeed Trump.

It is too soon to tell whether this rise in recruitment activity is a trend. Anecdotally there is strong recent activity in several sectors and despite the law firms’ onus on retention, very good lawyers are moving relatively freely in the market. These latest figures back up our own thoughts at Espero Consulting – that many of the larger or more Agile law firms have decided to carry on regardless; knowing they need to grab the available talent whilst they can and top-drawer candidates know their own worth and are finding a move relatively straightforward right now.

We will report again later this year as we revisit this hiring activity in the coming months.

For more information contact the author, Simon Chadwick of Espero Consulting +44 7985 198 578 or