In an exclusive year-end report by The Lawyer, Dentons stole the spotlight as Europe’s latest legal tour de force. The December 30 analysis- based on data self-reported to The Lawyer from law firms- announced that Dentons picked up 15 partners during the course of the year across Europe and only lost one partner. The firm’s expansions in Milan and Budapest account in large part for this influx. The next most active firm was Bird & Bird, which hired ten European partners and two associates, followed by DLA Piper and Jones Day who each recruited seven European partners and several associates.

The most active independent firm in 2015 was German firm, Noerr, who reported hiring two equity partners, nine associated partners, and a senior associate, while losing only one partner. Conversely, the firm that saw the most movement out of its ranks this year was UK Magic Circle member Clifford Chance. Undergoing a shakeup in operations, the firm saw particular losses in Germany, where 10 partners left to join competitor or boutique firms. Due in part to the exodus from Clifford Chance, lateral hires in Germany spiked in 2015, accounting for 88 of the 357 reported European hires – almost 25 percent of the total – up from 19 percent in 2014.

Despite significant movement in the German legal market, France remains the lateral hiring hotspot of Europe, accounting for 28 percent of all European hires in 2015. Independent firms dominated the recruitment scene in 2015, as they did the year before, representing 42 percent of the total. However, even this number dropped from the 54 percent in 2014. Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, and Italy also saw significant partner movement into and within their borders.

In another new development, U.S. headquartered firms replaced UK firms as the next most active hirers. Indicative of the increase of U.S. hires from independent firms, 31 of 57 hires by U.S. firms came from European independents compared to only 9 of 43 in 2014.

The original press release can be found here on The Lawyer’s website.