Anonymous User wrote:So if I'm an incoming associate, my bosses will know on Day 1 whether I'm partner material and I can do nothing about it?
I know there might not be any Jeremy Lin stories in BigLaw, where you are just completely unheard of and then magically become partner, but isn't there some way to improve or out-perform what your original ceiling seemed to be?
Your bosses won't know on Day 1. They'll have a pretty good idea by the end of the first transaction (which could be months, or maybe even years, later) whether you fall into one of the following 3 categories:
Short-termers: Hopelessly inept, not caring or generally indifferent. Clearly not understanding what's going on. Seriously deficient work product. Possible real social issues.
Stars: On-the-ball, super-responsive, thoughtful, trying to advance the ball on a project before asking you what to do, personable, could easily be put in front of a client to explain things. Obviously they don't know everything, but are clearly thinking about issues.
Middle ground: Some strengths, some weaknesses. Worth staffing on another transaction, have some potential, don't get it yet but maybe could with some work.
Now, unsurprisingly, most folks who start in law firms fall into the third category...but most folks who start in law firms don't stick around and make partner (an increasingly difficult prospect, requiring objective quality, growth opportunity for the practice, and "room" given other potential candidates).
So if you fall into the middle ground on day 1, you better hope there aren't that many people who fall into the "star" category in your group, your year +/- 2 years. Because otherwise when you're a 6th year are they thinking about you as a possible partner...or that you probably won't make it given the others around you?