Experiences being great senior, no promotion?

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Experiences being great senior, no promotion?

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Jun 24, 2020 11:03 pm

Has anybody been in a situation In say v50 biglaw where they have the mentorship, get the good evals, have good enough quality of life, really like what they do as like 8th/9th year associates...but then just don’t make partner in spite of all of the partners thinking highly of you and not having competition in or around your class year. Maybe it’s a business issue. Whatever the reason is, you’re great and you know it and the partnership knows it but for economics reasons or whatever, the group simply cannot support your promotion. Maybe there’s no non-equity track at your firm.

What’s that conversation like? What happens next? Year long soft push out? Of counsel? Offer to just stay at the same salary for the foreseeable future?

I’m not there, but just something I found myself wondering.

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Re: Experiences being great senior, no promotion?

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Jun 24, 2020 11:32 pm

This is common, and I'm pretty much there.

At my prior firm a lot of 10th+ year associates were basically told that they should find a new spot. All of them were well liked, but there wasn't a business case to make any of them partner, and the firm wanted space so it could bring in new lawyers with lower rates. They all got very, very long runways to find something good, and they all landed on their feet. The firm is all about poaching partners and the government revolving door, so in hindsight, that shouldn't have been a surprise.

That hasn't happened (yet) at my current firm. But I'm basically in that position, and I definitely worry about what happens if our group slows down and the group leaders face the same issue.

dvlthndr

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Re: Experiences being great senior, no promotion?

Post by dvlthndr » Thu Jun 25, 2020 5:09 am

I’ve seen a few approaches: extend the runway (e.g., certain practice groups will give you an extra year or two as an associate); push your out; make you counsel temporarily and see how you do at drumming up business; or make you counsel indefinitely if you have a niche skill set the firm needs.

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Re: Experiences being great senior, no promotion?

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Jun 25, 2020 11:14 am

OP here. I went with anon cause I anticipated giving some personal info. Haven’t shared IDing info yet but I’m gonna stick with it anyway.

Are we literally talking about multiple year-long runways for highly respect associates in relatively successful practice groups?

I’m about to be a senior associate in a group at a firm that’s wonderful and everything (experience, comp—no cuts with covid), but I have never seen or anecdotally heard of an associate going straight to equity in this group of this office. Evals to date have been top notch resulting in above market bonus.

I guess I’m wondering if I need to look to go, for example, to usao preemptively in order to avoid an eventual push out (local usao only has openings every year or two), or if I can sit tight for a while longer—all under the assumption I won’t make partner. Or can I wait to start that search until some sort of talk is had with me which could still be a couple/few years.

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Re: Experiences being great senior, no promotion?

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Jun 25, 2020 12:01 pm

The situation you describe isn't uncommon. Firms treat senior associates differently. My prior firm rarely does partner/counsel promotions but has several 12th and 13th year associates. At my current firm partner/counsel is more attainable but the pay is basically the same as a senior associate unless you bring in business. Some firms are closer to an up-or-out model.

If you're "highly respected" and billing a decent amount (1800-2000) very few firms will rush you out the door; it doesn't make financial sense to do that. You should expect to have a long runway, potentially a year or more, unless your hours drop. (Of course, once a firm decides you don't have a future there, partners are likely to start shifting work to other associates).

Assuming you want to keep earning your salary I'd recommend riding it out until the soft talk unless some great opportunity arises. That's basically what I'm doing now since the job is still somewhat tolerable and as a senior associate I make more than double what I'd make in the government.

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