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Last year’s rise in promotions cools down

Chloe Murdock//February 13, 2023//

New Partners 2023 logo

Last year’s rise in promotions cools down

Chloe Murdock//February 13, 2023//

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New Partners 2023 logoIn 2021, Missouri’s new partners saw a significant uptick in promotions over lateral hires. That has cooled down slightly according to the 2023 New Partners survey, though firms are still doubling down on their top performers within.

This year’s edition of the New Partners survey from Missouri Lawyers Media pulls data from 167 total new partners in Missouri out of 61 firms, as compared to last year’s survey that reported 163 new partners from 49 firms.

Missouri Lawyers Media ranks the nine largest firms in the state with more than $100 million in revenue in its annual MOney publication. In total, the nine firms reported 69 new partners in Missouri.

Three of the firms’ 2023 partner classes added more than they did last year: Armstrong Teasdale, Lathrop GPM and Stinson.

Six of those firms hired and promoted fewer Missouri partners than they had last year, though those same firms had a high yield of new partners in Missouri a year ago. Those firms were Polsinelli, Thompson Coburn, Spencer Fane, Husch Blackwell, Shook, Hardy & Bacon and Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner also elevated fewer partners than the prior year.

Armstrong Teasdale has 13 new partners in Missouri this year. Armstrong Teasdale Managing Partner Pat Rasche noted that the firm’s 13 new Missouri partners are part of the firm’s expectation of strength in corporate, transactions, real estate and litigation practices this coming year.

“Armstrong Teasdale is continuing to invest in its people,” Rasche said. “And we are continuing to promote top performers and to take care of them because these are the individuals that will be driving the firm forward for many years to come.”

Stinson Managing Partner Allison Murdock said that the firm’s eight-strong partner class in Missouri, all but one of which were promotions, was the result of years of individual hard work. The promoted partner track is at minimum a seven-year period for attorneys to prove their legal judgment, commitment to the firm and their clients as well as their ability to work with other attorneys.

“Whenever we have an associate join the firm, our goal is for them to succeed and to become our partners,” Murdock said. “So it’s always very satisfying and gratifying to see these folks move from an associate role to partner.”

Out of the 167 new partners in Missouri, firms promoted 79 percent of them. That’s a slight dip from last year’s 83 percent promotion rate, which had been a 10 percent hike compared to the prior year.

This year’s partner class included 65 women. Women made up 39 percent of new partners in Missouri this year, up from 36 percent reported in 2021.

More women were promoted than hired as new partners this year compared to the overall promotion rate. Just 15 percent of women were hired rather than promoted, while a quarter of men were lateral hires.

The New Partners list is based on email surveys submitted by Missouri law firms as well as press releases and announcements for new hires throughout the year. The list includes partners named or hired in 2022 after last year’s list and announcements ending in early January. As a result, our listings may not match firms’ internal counts.

Partners on the Kansas side of the Kansas City metropolitan area as well as the Illinois side of the St. Louis region are counted as Missouri attorneys. Newly hired associates, of-counsel and non-partner attorneys are not included in our numbers.

Other notable statistics:

  • More than half of this year’s new partners are in St. Louis. On the Missouri side, 93 partners are in St. Louis while seven others are on the Illinois side. Kansas City grew by 62 new partners plus two more partners on the Kansas side.
  • Saint Louis University School of Law alumni who earned partner status totaled 46, more than any other law school. The 28 partners who attended the University of Missouri are the second-largest cohort. Law school alumni from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and Washington University in St. Louis tied for third place with 15 each, followed by the 13 partners from the University of Kansas.
  • The firms with the largest numbers of new partners nationwide are Polsinelli (33), Husch Blackwell (31) and Littler (29). The 20 firms that brought on new partners outside Missouri elevated 184 total people across 20 states as well as Washington, D.C. not including partners in other countries.

Freelance researcher Jennie Goodman contributed to this report.

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