The legal market is not only tough in the UK, but is the USA as well, as illustrated by this article in Fortune.
Two things stand out. One is the difficulty faced by young lawyers just out of law school (training contracts do not feature in the USA). That of course mirrors the position in the UK.
The other is the survey quoted by Steven J. Harper that found that nearly half of managing partners admitted their lateral hires only break even and do not make money for the firm. The practice also deprives junior lawyers of the chance to advance, if, indeed, they survive firm job cutbacks, as he also points out. So the idea of bringing in existing partners from other firms together with their followings may not be a successful strategy.