Becoming a partner in BigLaw

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Anonymous User
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Becoming a partner in BigLaw

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Apr 12, 2010 3:10 pm

I know very few associates that work this become partners, but I was wondering if there is a real "secret" to becoming one.
Is it all crazy hours, knowing the politics of your firm, or can what kind of person you are have some effect on all of it?

I know it sounds like a silly question, but I'm curious as to how it all works

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T14_Scholly
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Re: Becoming a partner in BigLaw

Postby T14_Scholly » Mon Apr 12, 2010 3:13 pm

Most associates can become partners if they just believe in themselves.

solidsnake
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Re: Becoming a partner in BigLaw

Postby solidsnake » Mon Apr 12, 2010 3:22 pm

What I've gathered from asking around:

1. Don't piss off the wrong people, and get on the good side of the right people. Doing both requires you both to turn in excellent work product and to bill a lot of fucking hours, consistently over years.

2. Make yourself indispensable -- to the client and therefore the firm. Finding a niche can help with this.

Kochel
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Re: Becoming a partner in BigLaw

Postby Kochel » Mon Apr 12, 2010 4:00 pm

Of the 60+ people in my first-year class at my old Biglaw firm in the late 1990s, only 5 became partner: 2 litigation, 1 corporate, 1 tax, 1 health care. Those are pretty typical numbers. I know a couple of these people to have been precociously brilliant lawyers; a couple of the others probably made partner through sheer endurance and being in a needed specialty. I am pretty sure that proven rainmaking ability was not a prerequisite.

So what prevented the rest of us schmucks from making partner? All the usual sob stories, of course: couldn't take the grueling hours, got scapegoated by a partner for a bad client experience, stealth layoffs, failure to get premium work assignments, genuinely bad performance, boredom, etc. And, of course, the ultimate reason for departure: we found better jobs elsewhere.

It's an endurance contest: to make partner requires avoiding all of these pitfalls consistently for 7-9 years, and then you have to hope that the firm can afford to elevate you at the precise time when you become eligible.

Danteshek
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Re: Becoming a partner in BigLaw

Postby Danteshek » Mon Apr 12, 2010 4:03 pm

Kochel wrote:Of the 60+ people in my first-year class at my old Biglaw firm in the late 1990s, only 5 became partner: 2 litigation, 1 corporate, 1 tax, 1 health care. Those are pretty typical numbers. I know a couple of these people to have been precociously brilliant lawyers; a couple of the others probably made partner through sheer endurance and being in a needed specialty. I am pretty sure that proven rainmaking ability was not a prerequisite.

So what prevented the rest of us schmucks from making partner? All the usual sob stories, of course: couldn't take the grueling hours, got scapegoated by a partner for a bad client experience, stealth layoffs, failure to get premium work assignments, genuinely bad performance, boredom, etc. And, of course, the ultimate reason for departure: we found better jobs elsewhere.

It's an endurance contest: to make partner requires avoiding all of these pitfalls consistently for 7-9 years, and then you have to hope that the firm can afford to elevate you at the precise time when you become eligible.


Did school play a role?

270910
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Re: Becoming a partner in BigLaw

Postby 270910 » Mon Apr 12, 2010 4:40 pm

Danteshek wrote:Did school play a role?


lol. Why would it? It's not like at a big firm the Harvard associates are the ones who get the nicest offices / cubicles :P

Kochel
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Re: Becoming a partner in BigLaw

Postby Kochel » Mon Apr 12, 2010 5:20 pm

Danteshek wrote:
Kochel wrote:Of the 60+ people in my first-year class at my old Biglaw firm in the late 1990s, only 5 became partner: 2 litigation, 1 corporate, 1 tax, 1 health care. Those are pretty typical numbers. I know a couple of these people to have been precociously brilliant lawyers; a couple of the others probably made partner through sheer endurance and being in a needed specialty. I am pretty sure that proven rainmaking ability was not a prerequisite.

So what prevented the rest of us schmucks from making partner? All the usual sob stories, of course: couldn't take the grueling hours, got scapegoated by a partner for a bad client experience, stealth layoffs, failure to get premium work assignments, genuinely bad performance, boredom, etc. And, of course, the ultimate reason for departure: we found better jobs elsewhere.

It's an endurance contest: to make partner requires avoiding all of these pitfalls consistently for 7-9 years, and then you have to hope that the firm can afford to elevate you at the precise time when you become eligible.


Did school play a role?


No. My firm hired mostly T14, plus a healthy group from BC/BU, and those who made partner are from those same schools. A few lawyers from the same graduating class subsequently lateraled in and made partner; these were all from HY.

Posner
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Re: Becoming a partner in BigLaw

Postby Posner » Mon Apr 12, 2010 6:22 pm

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Last edited by Posner on Tue Apr 27, 2010 2:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

rando
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Re: Becoming a partner in BigLaw

Postby rando » Mon Apr 12, 2010 6:28 pm

Have your own book of business, be able to bring new business to the firm; or

Make yourself indispensable. For instance being great at a specialty needed in multiple departments. Like a tax lawyer.

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underdawg
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Re: Becoming a partner in BigLaw

Postby underdawg » Mon Apr 12, 2010 6:50 pm

T14_Scholly wrote:Most associates can become partners if they just believe in themselves.

Danteshek
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Re: Becoming a partner in BigLaw

Postby Danteshek » Mon Apr 12, 2010 10:04 pm

Kochel - so your firm would categorically deny a Suffolk or Uconn grad at the top of his class? If yes, do you think that is small minded?

BetterCallSaul
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Re: Becoming a partner in BigLaw

Postby BetterCallSaul » Mon Apr 12, 2010 10:06 pm

underdawg wrote:
T14_Scholly wrote:Most associates can become partners if they just believe in themselves.


The Secret.

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GordonBombay
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Re: Becoming a partner in BigLaw

Postby GordonBombay » Mon Apr 12, 2010 10:09 pm

You can become Partners easily now in Hawaii, and Mass. not CA though. Sorry




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