I’m a senior in a biglaw, zero chance to make partner here. If I switch to a smaller firm (looking into established regional firms now, right now on Cravath scale, willing to take a paycut for up to 1/3), how many years would I have to make partner? And if I don’t bring in business, can I survive there for 4-5 years? Is permanent associate/counsel an option?

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Up or out isn't as much of a thing in smaller firms. I started at a smaller firm and there were some 10-11 year associates who everyone seemed perfectly happy with. In my area (Texas large city) counsel is more of a big/midlaw title. Small firms are fine keeping you as an associate forever. Not that there isn't a path to partnership, of course, but it's much broader/more flexible than the up or out track at some biglaw firms.

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A lot of those firms make associates who wont make partner of counsel or counsel. If youre up for partner, depends on the firm on how long it will take.

I would ask if the position has partner track potential. I would also look at all the partners and see how long they were with the firm before being partner. Also, once an offer is received, ask if there is certain criteria for partner track and what would that involve because you are looking to invest in the firm and would like to track your progress.

My mid-level firm has a non-equity partner option in part for attys who want to stay with the firm/keep practicing but don’t want everything that goes along with equity partnership. You could make that designation in 3 years with the type of experience I’m presuming you have as a big law senior associate.

That’s nice to hear! That’s exactly what I want to do. Is that something firm will be open to discuss at interviews or it’s something that you have after you put in a few years in the firm (like make everyone likes you etc)

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