Magic Circle firm denies plans to trim finance practice

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Linklaters has denied that it is actively looking to trim its equity partner ranks in the firm’s finance practice.

“There are no plans to actively reduce headcount over the next 12 months in our banking or finance practices,” the firm told LegalWeek and Legal Business.

The UK publications both report that the firm is looking to reduce the amount of equity in the finance group, according to unnamed sources at the firm. Linklaters began its review of equity points in the practice last year. LegalWeek said the firm is targeting a 150-point reduction, while Legal Business said the goal is to trim 160 to 180 points.

Legal Business said that six exits, about half of which are retirements, are expected in the coming months. LegalWeek said that the target equals six full equity partners.

Linklaters wants to move its finance practice away from senior equity partners that focus on traditional lenders, as banking groups increasingly prefer sponsors.

“The team needed a degree of reinvigoration and focus in the more mainstream practice areas that are probably a bit over-partnered. I don't see how people can justify some of the pay at the top of the lockstep at Linklaters in mainstream banking,” one source told Legal Business.

The firm is said to be expecting that a cut in the number of partners will not affect the majority of its banking and finance business.

Linklaters points to its recent promotion of four banking partners as evidence it is not cutting its finance practice equity partner ranks. Linklaters has 94 banking partners worldwide, with 39 based in London.

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