Navigating partnership paths in Belgian law firms: a look at gender dynamics

In a revealing analysis conducted by YouConnect in December 2023, we delved into the professional journeys of approximately 500 partners across leading law firms in Belgium. Our exploration aimed not just to sketch the portrait of the average partner but to unfold the trends in partner promotions over the last decade (2013-2023).

Rising times to partnership and diverse routes to the top

Our analysis revealed that 41.5% of partners were promoted during the 2013-2023 period. The majority of partners ascended to their positions prior to 2013, which is not surprising as partnerships often mark a long-term commitment, typically culminating in retirement. 

The road to partnership traditionally spans a significant duration, averaging around 12 years, though recent trends suggest a slight extension to 13-14 years on average.

We can categorize the partner tracks into three distinct categories, reflecting the varied pathways:

  • Homegrown Partners (33%): who climbed the ranks within the law firm where they initiated their careers.
  • Lateral Movers (27%): who secured a partnership after transitioning to (or founding) a new firm, a move that directly led to their partner status.
  • Diverse Trajectories (30%): a group with varied career paths. Although their journeys are less linear and more intricate, a common thread is that they all switched firms at least once and did not secure a partnership immediately upon joining a new firm.

read the full analysis