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Associate Retention Alert in Germany

Mergers with UK and US firms have led to a potential recruitment crisis in the German associate market. Christoph.H.Vaagt gives us an insider perspective on the effects of this change in the legal market, and the steps German law firms must take to ensure they hold on to their future partners.

9 February 2001

Mergers with UK and US firms have led to a potential recruitment crisis in the German associate market. Christoph.H.Vaagt gives us an insider perspective on the effects of this change in the legal market, and the steps German law firms must take to ensure they hold on to their future partners.

The fight to retain associates is increasing, as the ratio of partners to associates rises. In the light of these developments, the chance of associates reaching partnership status becomes evermore distant. "I work for a top class firm but I'm still quitting to launch my own partnership with friends in Munich." These are the words of a high-calibre associate whose sort are rare to find in the labour market and almost impossible to recruit. He worked in Düsseldorf, Singapore and Brussels after studying in Germany and South Africa and fitted perfectly into the European team of a magic circle firm. But now he's leaving.

This case is typical and illustr...

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