Making Partner at Your Law Firm: What to Expect and How to Go Faster

How long does it take to make partner at a law firm?

Getting started at a new law firm is an exciting opportunity, but it doesn’t take long to start wondering about what the next step is. For many lawyers that means making partner and gaining equity in the firm. So, how long does it take to make partner at a law firm? That depends on a variety of factors which can lengthen or shorten the time from your first day until your big day.

The Size of the Firm

The first factor to consider when making an estimate on how long it takes to make partner is the size of the firm you working for. If you go to work at a large firm with many associate level attorneys, that means there is more competition for partnerships. These firms have the luxury of taking time and counting on the best candidates to reveal themselves, so you may need in excess of a decade of experience with the firm before making partner. At smaller firms it is possible to reach that level in as little as a few years.

Your Performance on the Job

Everyone knows you have to put your best foot forward when applying for a job, however, that doesn’t mean you can stop shining a positive light on yourself once you get hired. If you want to make partner and do so as quickly as possible, you have to show that you are a valuable member of the team. That means maximizing your billable hours in your years as an associate to show that you are putting in effort to make the firm succeed. This makes you a more appealing candidate for partner.

The Firm You Are At

It’s important to keep an eye on the firm you are at, and how your career is progressing. Monitor those who have become partners and the track they followed. If you appear to be receiving a different route than the other partners have received, you may be stuck at a firm which does not intend to offer you a partnership and should consider your options.

The Relationships You Make

The final pieces of the puzzle are the relationships you make at the firm. While working hard and performing well is important, it never hurts to bolster your resume with strong personal relationships with your firm’s partners. If your partners like you they’re more likely to look at your time at the company positively, which increases your chances of becoming a partner.

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