What does it mean to be “up” for partnership? Are you not automatically considered once you reach a certain seniority level?

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Most firms have a formalized „scrutiny“ process. While you may be eligible to be put up for partnership after a certain number of years, it is not officially underway until you enter the formal review process, which is generally two years.

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Most definitely not something that at most big firms is a “given” you have to go through an arduous process of business plans and showing how you do and will continue to bring in business to/expand existing business for the firm to ensure associates have work to do. Remember partners are the “business owners” the partnership generally doesn’t just say oh you’ve been here for 8 years so here come be one of us. Some places do that for income partner rather than equity but a lot of places it’s a long process and most definitely not everyone will make it.

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Depends on the firm. Some don’t make you make a case/provide a business plan. They decide without your input. It’s honestly easier that way. Other firms are extremely formal with it. I’ve heard Mayer Brown’s process is torture.

Usually, a practice group has to officially put you up on a slate to be considered by the broader partnership and management committee. If your group doesn’t officially put you up, you are not considered even if you have the requisite number of years.

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Also, (1) there are superstars a year below you, (2) your group was not super profitable that year, (3) your firm is not having a good year, (4) the economy is crashing. Honestly, many of the reasons have nothing to do with an individual candidate personally, which is why making partner can be a crapshoot.

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