Shelley DuBois with Fortune recently wrote this article regarding the decline in value of “making partner.” The article states:
But making partner doesn’t mean what it used to. It hasn’t for a while, in fact. And still, many entering the workforce covet that milestone.
Why? There are a couple of reasons, most of them having to do with tradition and pay. And while making partner isn’t meaningless, job seekers entering the workforce should question whether it’s a solid end-goal.
My Take: The key point here for young lawyers is that making partner in their firm is a step. It’s not the finish line. If you treat making partner like the finish line, the ascension of your career is over. It may even decline.
"Law firms just have to face the reality that they can’t make too many people equity partners or they can’t survive," says Gerry Riskin, founding partner of law firm consulting firm Edge International. As a result, he says, some offer tiered partnerships with equity partners at the top. Other levels of partnership, Riskin says, "may be based on what other firms are doing, or may be just a glorified way of paying a salary."
My Take: This is the reason that you have to keep your nose to the grindstone after you make partner.
Partner is as broad of a word as cancer is," says Ken Young, who is part of the American Board Association’s Law Practice Management Section. "To the business community, it means something, but people need to dig beneath the title."
My Take: Did that guy just use ‘partner’ and ‘cancer’ in the same sentence? One of his friends probably just lost a bet.
"I don’t think there are any givens anymore, and perhaps the old model had more givens," Serino says. "The people that navigate that successfully have to reconsider the assumptions and constantly be ready to anticipate how workplace market conditions are going to change." In other words, young people at big firms will need to redefine the old milestones.
My Take: Making partner is not job security. Job security is being able to get work. Getting work from within the firm counts, but getting work from outside the firm is what gets firm lawyers to the top compensation tiers.
My personal opinion is that in general, Mississippi defense firms are not doing enough marketing activities to raise their firm profile and attract business. Too much Mississippi defense work is going to law firms in other states. It would be understandable if the out of state lawyers were better than their Mississippi counterparts. But they aren’t. The difference is that these lawyers and their firms are out-marketing the Mississippi lawyers and firms. If Mississippi firms do not do more to address this issue, the value of making partner will continue to become marginalized.