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Ilovebacon
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Joined: Sat Dec 01, 2012 4:59 am

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Postby Ilovebacon » Sat Dec 01, 2012 5:00 am

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Last edited by Ilovebacon on Sat Dec 01, 2012 5:16 pm, edited 2 times in total.

perfecttender
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Re: How easy is it to make into partner in Tier 1 Law Firm?

Postby perfecttender » Sat Dec 01, 2012 5:23 am

I've only been practicing for 2 months and I can tell you right now that you are thinking about this completely wrong. It's never easy to make partner. Period. It's even harder to make equity partner. Period. That stats are stacked against you. There's no easy way to make partner but here's the tdlr version: have a large and portable book of business.

Instead of asking this question, ask yourself if you love the law and the PRACTICE of law. Those are hugely different things. Those that do usually last long enough.

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dingbat
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Re: How easy is it to make into partner in Tier 1 Law Firm?

Postby dingbat » Sat Dec 01, 2012 7:01 am

Ilovebacon wrote:I have few questions, some of which might present as ruthless but I would really appreciate it if you guys could give me an honest answer.

#1: How difficult is it to become partner in Tier 1 Law Firm? What are the chances? Do most people make to partner as long as they are on partner track and from T-6 school?
It's very difficult to make partner. Being a good attorney is not enough.
Ilovebacon wrote:#2: How much do partners (Equity and Non-Equity partners) in Tier 1 Law Firm make? Is the actual income they make higher than PPP?
It depends on the firm, but anywhere from half a million to I believe about two million per year. The actual income is generally less than PPP, because not every partner is created equal and for example the Chairman and division heads tend to make more money than people working under them. But don't worry about this. If you make partner, you'll be earning more than enough
Ilovebacon wrote:#3: If lawyer from Tier 1 Law Firm chooses to become a in-house lawyer instead how much do they make usually?
How warm is a summer day? In-house make anything from well below $100k to approximately $15 million a year (GC of CBS)

TooOld4This
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Re: How easy is it to make into partner in Tier 1 Law Firm?

Postby TooOld4This » Sat Dec 01, 2012 11:14 am

1. Extremely hard. First, it does not matter at all where you went to school. Your school is just a gating issue. Once you have the job, your work speaks for itself. On the path to partner, you need to get lucky your first couple of years to find your way to the "right" practice areas and the "right" partners. You need to get the "right" projects -- ones that will get the skills you need to progress. You need to not screw up along the way. You need to not get thrown under the bus (intentionally, or unintentionally). Once you've made it over that hurdle, you need to start excelling. Your work needs to be above the curve (in an environment where likely everyone is really good). You need to put in the hours. You also need to hope that you guessed right on what the "right" practice group was. Lots of careers can get tanked if work in your practice group slumps when you are on deck for partner. After that, you need to make sure you have made the "right" relationships -- that you have met enough people who will go to bat for you at the partnership vote and that their efforts can actually carry you over the hump. All of this must be done against a backdrop of increasing attrition of your class, meaning that more and more work gets dumped on you. In short, you have to be good, lucky, and have the stamina to be last man standing.

2. Salary is different firm to firm. It will be lower than PPP -- often by a huge margin. Junior partners often don't seem much of an increase in salary for awhile. Between buy-in, benefit changes, and tax treatment, don't expect a huge increase in take home pay right away. The early years of partnership are often more intense than the years you were on deck. Junior partners are expected to earn their stripes, doing everything they were doing as senior associates, but taking on additional responsibilities as well. Non-equity partners (where this is a stop along the way to equity) are essentially on deck even longer. Partnership profits are distributed in different ways. What percent you get can be based on seniority, management responsibilities, work you bring in, work you manage, work you do, etc. You do not simply take PPP and assume that will be somewhere near your salary.

3. It depends on the position. In-house attorneys don't make that much as base salary (relative to firm salaries), except for the very top jobs at the top companies. Your run of the mill straight through partner is not going to be very well qualified for senior in-house positions. Senior in-house attorneys need to have a broad understanding of the legal issues facing the company. Those skills are very hard to develop in a firm, where the focus is on specialization. This is why most attorneys who want to go in-house, jump ship before partnership.

Ilovebacon
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Dec 01, 2012 4:59 am

Re: How easy is it to make into partner in Tier 1 Law Firm?

Postby Ilovebacon » Sat Dec 01, 2012 11:54 am

TooOld4This wrote:1. Extremely hard. First, it does not matter at all where you went to school. Your school is just a gating issue. Once you have the job, your work speaks for itself. On the path to partner, you need to get lucky your first couple of years to find your way to the "right" practice areas and the "right" partners. You need to get the "right" projects -- ones that will get the skills you need to progress. You need to not screw up along the way. You need to not get thrown under the bus (intentionally, or unintentionally). Once you've made it over that hurdle, you need to start excelling. Your work needs to be above the curve (in an environment where likely everyone is really good). You need to put in the hours. You also need to hope that you guessed right on what the "right" practice group was. Lots of careers can get tanked if work in your practice group slumps when you are on deck for partner. After that, you need to make sure you have made the "right" relationships -- that you have met enough people who will go to bat for you at the partnership vote and that their efforts can actually carry you over the hump. All of this must be done against a backdrop of increasing attrition of your class, meaning that more and more work gets dumped on you. In short, you have to be good, lucky, and have the stamina to be last man standing.

2. Salary is different firm to firm. It will be lower than PPP -- often by a huge margin. Junior partners often don't seem much of an increase in salary for awhile. Between buy-in, benefit changes, and tax treatment, don't expect a huge increase in take home pay right away. The early years of partnership are often more intense than the years you were on deck. Junior partners are expected to earn their stripes, doing everything they were doing as senior associates, but taking on additional responsibilities as well. Non-equity partners (where this is a stop along the way to equity) are essentially on deck even longer. Partnership profits are distributed in different ways. What percent you get can be based on seniority, management responsibilities, work you bring in, work you manage, work you do, etc. You do not simply take PPP and assume that will be somewhere near your salary.

3. It depends on the position. In-house attorneys don't make that much as base salary (relative to firm salaries), except for the very top jobs at the top companies. Your run of the mill straight through partner is not going to be very well qualified for senior in-house positions. Senior in-house attorneys need to have a broad understanding of the legal issues facing the company. Those skills are very hard to develop in a firm, where the focus is on specialization. This is why most attorneys who want to go in-house, jump ship before partnership.




What are the numbers for the people who make it into partner at Tier 1 Law Firm (Like Top 70 Firms) - about 10%? 15%

Also, in a firm with non-equity partner system, if one were to take non-equity partner job, is it a life-time job?

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YankeesFan
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Re: How easy is it to make into partner in Tier 1 Law Firm?

Postby YankeesFan » Sat Dec 01, 2012 11:57 am

WTF is a Tier 1 law firm?

Ilovebacon
Posts: 3
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Re: How easy is it to make into partner in Tier 1 Law Firm?

Postby Ilovebacon » Sat Dec 01, 2012 12:05 pm

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Last edited by Ilovebacon on Sat Dec 01, 2012 5:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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LeDique
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Re: How easy is it to make into partner in Tier 1 Law Firm?

Postby LeDique » Sat Dec 01, 2012 12:19 pm

YankeesFan wrote:WTF is a Tier 1 law firm?


v17.

shock259
Posts: 1737
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Re: How easy is it to make into partner in Tier 1 Law Firm?

Postby shock259 » Sat Dec 01, 2012 12:32 pm

LeDique wrote:
YankeesFan wrote:WTF is a Tier 1 law firm?


v17.


Blatant Quinn trolling.

Also, who cares how much money you actually make as a Tier 1 law firm partner? You can shit all over your Tier 6 law firm friends with dat prestige

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thesealocust
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Re: How easy is it to make into partner in Tier 1 Law Firm?

Postby thesealocust » Sat Dec 01, 2012 12:38 pm

(1) Tier 1 law firm isn't a phrase in common usage, so it is hard to know what you mean.

(2) At top/large NYC firms, partnership odds for an incoming associate are around 5%. If you look at data from top (T14ish) law schools the overall number is higher, I believe hovering around 20% of all lawyers who start at law firms eventually wind up making partner. Some firms promote substantially more than 5% of their incoming class to partners (often due to lower leverage) and some firms frequently promote lawyers who lateraled into the firm to partner (meaning people who start at a law firm with ~5% partnership prospects have higher odds of making partner somewhere, just not at the firm they started at).

(3) PPP should be viewed as almost meaningless. Law firms are private businesses with almost zero reporting obligations outside of certain bankruptcy representations and aren't actually opening their books for people to look at. It's not uncommon for an equity partner at a firm to be in the dark with respect to much of the firm's financials, so don't expect the trade press to have the scoop. The calculations outside groups use to ballpark PPP and/or the limited, unverfieid, self-reported information released by firms might, in a broad way, paint a picture of the differences between firms, but shouldn't be looked at as accurate with respect to actual earnings or compensation.

(4) Firms handle partner compensation very differently. Entry level partners usually have to buy into the partnership via capital contribution, and from there it's a very private universe with little information coming back to the public. Many firms reward partners based on their book of business and billable hours their matters are responsible for, others pay based on lockstep seniority. A few firms brag about the fact that their "spread" (gap between highest and lowest paid partner) is 3:1, while at other firms I imagine it's several times that amount.

(5) Associates who leave firms and go in-house often take slight paycuts, but big companies still pay inhouse counsel generously (6-figures+). From there it's a very corporate landscape: if you climb the ladder (well, pyramid) to become general counsel / CLO / jump to the business side the sky is the limit and you could wind up making millions. Otherwise not so much, firms almost always involve more work but better pay.

As an aside, making partner isn't about getting check pluses on all of your assignments and sticking around. Partners are business owners, and your relevance and potential to the firm's business is going to dwarf other factors when it comes to granting partnership. That can means a lot of different things, including legal ability and hard work, but it's not like getting a simple promotion.

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LeDique
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Re: How easy is it to make into partner in Tier 1 Law Firm?

Postby LeDique » Sat Dec 01, 2012 1:00 pm

shock259 wrote:
LeDique wrote:
YankeesFan wrote:WTF is a Tier 1 law firm?


v17.


Blatant Quinn trolling.


I was going for egregious Jones Day trolling, actually.




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