So other than money (which is obviously very important) what’s the incentive to make partner? Is it crazy that I just want to do my work and go home to my amazing family without the added pressure of running a business and managing others? I’m only a third year (in a new practice area) so maybe the thought of being competent enough to ever be a partner just seems unrealistic. 🤷🏼‍♀️

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It’s definitely not the life I want, but I can see some perks. Autonomy seems to be the obvious one. My senior partner has a big book of business & so she, generally, is very in control of her own practice. She works with clients she wants to work with, has enough sway at the firm to hire who she wants to hire, and she generally makes her own schedule. Of course there’s a lot of additional responsibility that comes with being a partner, and there are definitely times where she works extremely long hours, but I can definitely see some perks. That said, those perks would *not* be enough for me. Haha

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I am at a small firm as well, but not as small as AA’s firm. I would say besides money, you get to decide what kind of business you’re going to run. I worked with a partner at an old firm and rarely saw her. When she left to start her own firm, I went with her and the new firm is completely different. I don’t think she enjoys the responsibility of providing a livelihood for her employees, but she she does enjoy making sure our workplace is pushing to be a modern law office and that everyone is treated equally. We are an extremely diverse firm, she pays for the legal assistants to go to paralegal school, she got us a zoom personal trainer during the pandemic, she pays 100% for our health care premiums, adds profit sharing to our retirement account in addition to bonuses, pays for us to have access to financial advisors that aren’t selling things. What I’m saying is, if you ever wanted to make working at a law firm better for all involved, being partner at a small firm is a great opportunity for that.

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Yes, she’s an amazing boss and a bad ass attorney!

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I once read that making partner is like winning a pie eating contest and finding out the prize is more pie.

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Not sure about leaving the law but will definitely be leaving BigLaw.

Total control over who you represent, how hard you want to work, what cases to take, how the cases are handled, who you work with, and what pro bono you want to do. There are responsibilities that come along with the role but if you’re a partner and have a book life can be pretty good if you want it to be.

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I’m not in ID but building a network is the first step to develop business. You have to be where the people who hire (or will hire) lawyers are. And a lot of people need to know you. iD partners? What’s the strategy in your practice? Also remember that BD is a long term effort that takes years to mature. Within that period the people now hiring your firm will move on. You want to develop relationships with the people who will replace them.

Making partner would be a decent excuse for not giving my mom any grandkids yet😭

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I will not be giving my mom grandkids ever - partner status or not ✌🏼lol.

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You’re not crazy. It’s not the life I’d want. Just so it’s clear, competence isn’t the issue. Most partners aren’t models of legal brilliance. You’ll learn that as you get more senior.

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Partner billable requirement goes down at my firm. Also, access to information and some semblance of say in the direction of the firm. Having more control of your own life is worth it. Plus, it’s generally harder to be fired. The other members of the firm have to vote to out you.

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Been pondering this question myself a lot lately. I think it’s the prestige and feeling of accomplishment that drives a lot of people to do it or strive for it. It’s something they’re super proud of being able to say at the end of the day: that they’re excellent at their job which is pretty hard and they made it “to the top.”

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Seat at the table for strategic decisions.

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So the question becomes - I’m at a small firm (just me and the partner) so if I don’t want to ever be partner and he’s already 63….

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You have time. Hopefully the partner teaches you all you need to know. You might also join any association of plaintiff lawyers in your area to get to know some people and maybe find some other mentors. Once challenge of being I. A small firm or solo is having people to cover cases for you when you’re on vacation. Developing a network will help you with reciprocal case babysitting agreements. AAJ and ATLA are examples. Good luck with this. You’re on an exciting but challenging path.

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Not crazy at all haha I’ve known since about year 3 of practice that I’m not interested in doing the partner thing. I’m in year 9 of practice and will be eligible in a couple years but I think my end goal is in house. I don’t want the pressure of developing and maintaining business.

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Prestige

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Oh I agree I don’t wanna be a partner at all it seems awful and not worth it. Just giving another reason people want it besides money lol

I feel like it’s not being a partner that gives you autonomy but having a book of business. I’ve never had any desire to become partner but now, as I’m starting my 6th year and getting these outrageous demands from some partners I feel like if I was partner it would be easier for me to say I don’t have capacity (I still say that now but partners feel like they can blow my phone up/email/etc when they don’t immediately hear from me)

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Agree, having a book helps but you will not be able to open the matter in your own name in most firms.

Money, prestige, and a perceived or actual lack of “acceptable” exit options.

I don’t do it for the money although the money is nice too. No, I’m in it for the thrills like Mike Lowery from Bad Boys. I ain’t got no trust fund either. Trial-from picking a jury to closing arguments and the verdict. It’s an experience unlike any other. Partners get the cool assignments. More of that. Sign me up.

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