Anonymous User wrote:At the specific firm I'm looking at, associates are hired with the expectation of making partner and there are about 3 partners to every associate. The other firms in this market run similar shops. Given that, it would seem that partner profits would be really, really low. I don't want to work at a firm where I would only make $200k or so as a partner, even with the low cost of living here
I'm a 3L going full time at the firm I have worked with two summers in a flyover/vacation state. It has around 20 attorneys. The expectation is that all associates eventually become partners if they stick around for 7 or 8 years. I think that what you need to understand about firms like this is that what partners take home is very nearly proportional to what they bring in -- and because the vast majority of the attorneys here are partners, the partners do most of the actual work on every case. I am not exactly certain how my firm does it, but due to my involvement in litigation involving other similar firms (which was awesomely instructive in how law firms around here work, BTW), it's clear that the general idea is that the originating attorney gets a slice and the responsible attorney gets a slice of all the money that comes in from a file. Then, the partners essentially get to take home the vast majority of what they bill or win.
So, for example, say the firm has a "nut" of $50,000-$75,000 required per partner. You get to keep 50% of what you bill up to sharing $50K with the firm, and then 75% of everything you earn up to an additional 25K, then everything after that minus a small percentage for the firm. So, without doing the math, just assume that at some point rather early in the year, a partner billing $200/hour will essentially take home nearly that much. In other words, a partner billing 1600 hours could conceivably take home well
in excess of 200K per year. And 1600 hours is not unrealistic for a smaller firm. Partners where I work coach their kids' sports teams, go skiing regularly, take vacations, almost never work weekends, and the office is a ghost town after 6PM (shit, half leave at 5 on the nuts every day, barring something major).
So anyways, that got long and it may not be relevant to this thread. But if I can generally work a 40 hour work week with people that I like in a place that I love and eventually make $200K, I think I'm OK with that.