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Author Topic: Criteria for making partner  (Read 4619 times)

themanwithnoname

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Re: Criteria for making partner
« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2008, 09:54:06 AM »
#1. Bringing in new business
#2. Firm politics
#3. Being in the right place at the right time (i.e. being up for partner when new partners are needed)


This has been true for the few big firms I've worked at.

I'd put more emphasis on #2 and #3.  And occasionally #1 is changed to something along the lines of being a big name in your field.  Partners really seem to serve 2 functions:  one is to bring in new biz, and one is to add to the firm's reputation.  So some people make partner based on their rainmaking abilities, and some make partner based on the name they've made for themselves as a bad-ass litigator or whatever (although this seems to be more difficult now, as associates more and more are chained to their desks while the partners go to court; yet another example of how law firms, as businesses, are terribly run.)

Maybe this should be a new thread, but (how) can transactional lawyers build a strong reputation?

demonstrating an understanding of your client's business, being able to think strategically, strong drafting of agreements, being diligent in general. Working obscene hours.

nealric

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Re: Criteria for making partner
« Reply #11 on: May 22, 2008, 12:32:29 PM »
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this depends on the kind of firm we are talking about. Small firm, sure, that works. but there is no way an associate at a big firm can bring in a boatload of business compared to the clients they already have. It is just not comparable.

I disagree. While it's true that an associate at a large firm won't be making a huge dent in the firm's over all business, ability to bring in business is still a big factor for several reasons:

#1. If the associate brings in more income than (s)he costs, said associate is a net money maker for the firm. Even if that money is chump change compared to the firm's over all earnings, it makes little sense to forfiet a proven asset by not making them partner.

#2. If the associate can bring in substantial business as an associate, that points to a potential to bring in serious business down the road as a partner.

There are many large law firms where the top paid parners make 9x what lowest paid partners make. The difference between the top paid parners and the lower paid parners is almost always the amount of business they bring in. This is because one rockstar rainmaker may bring in enough business to keep 5 partners and 10 associates buisy (or more). Such a partner is far more valuable to a firm than one with nothing but technical expertise and high billable hours. However, generally speaking, if you are well-known for your expertise you will probably also bring in considerable business on that basis.
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Matthies

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Re: Criteria for making partner
« Reply #12 on: May 22, 2008, 12:52:19 PM »
Quote
this depends on the kind of firm we are talking about. Small firm, sure, that works. but there is no way an associate at a big firm can bring in a boatload of business compared to the clients they already have. It is just not comparable.

I disagree. While it's true that an associate at a large firm won't be making a huge dent in the firm's over all business, ability to bring in business is still a big factor for several reasons:

#1. If the associate brings in more income than (s)he costs, said associate is a net money maker for the firm. Even if that money is chump change compared to the firm's over all earnings, it makes little sense to forfiet a proven asset by not making them partner.

#2. If the associate can bring in substantial business as an associate, that points to a potential to bring in serious business down the road as a partner.

There are many large law firms where the top paid parners make 9x what lowest paid partners make. The difference between the top paid parners and the lower paid parners is almost always the amount of business they bring in. This is because one rockstar rainmaker may bring in enough business to keep 5 partners and 10 associates buisy (or more). Such a partner is far more valuable to a firm than one with nothing but technical expertise and high billable hours. However, generally speaking, if you are well-known for your expertise you will probably also bring in considerable business on that basis.

Basically been my experience (both in working for firms and having many family members who are partners). Ever want to see heads roll at a big firm, watch a rainmaking partner defect, the results are not pretty. You can be the smartest lawyer in the firm, but the ones they are really worried about leaving are the ones with the most clients, these are often, sadly, not the same person.
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themanwithnoname

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Re: Criteria for making partner
« Reply #13 on: May 22, 2008, 01:16:57 PM »
Quote
this depends on the kind of firm we are talking about. Small firm, sure, that works. but there is no way an associate at a big firm can bring in a boatload of business compared to the clients they already have. It is just not comparable.

I disagree. While it's true that an associate at a large firm won't be making a huge dent in the firm's over all business, ability to bring in business is still a big factor for several reasons:

#1. If the associate brings in more income than (s)he costs, said associate is a net money maker for the firm. Even if that money is chump change compared to the firm's over all earnings, it makes little sense to forfiet a proven asset by not making them partner.

#2. If the associate can bring in substantial business as an associate, that points to a potential to bring in serious business down the road as a partner.

There are many large law firms where the top paid parners make 9x what lowest paid partners make. The difference between the top paid parners and the lower paid parners is almost always the amount of business they bring in. This is because one rockstar rainmaker may bring in enough business to keep 5 partners and 10 associates buisy (or more). Such a partner is far more valuable to a firm than one with nothing but technical expertise and high billable hours. However, generally speaking, if you are well-known for your expertise you will probably also bring in considerable business on that basis.

in response to 1) senior associates are always net money makers for the firm, whether it is from business they bring in or not. In response to 2) big firms have big clients and in many cases firms turn down cases as "too small." There is also an extensive vetting for conflicts so the kinds of cases associates can bring in are not worth doing. The issue for making partner is not whether the person makes more than they cost as associates but whether they are worth giving an equity stake to. At the firm at which I worked, I never encountered an associate working on a paying matter without a partner.