Becoming a partner in a law firm is not an easy feat. There are many factors that go into a decision to become a partner. You must be dedicated to your job and show the firm that you can add value to the company. Law firms will not justify making an associate an equity partner if they can’t bill many hours. You must be persuasive and generate work to set yourself apart from other attorneys.
In a traditional partnership structure, partners earn equity in the firm, but do not receive a percentage of its profits. A non-equity partnership will often pay you a flat salary and give you no equity in the firm. A multi-tiered partnership will also give you responsibilities and salary increases but not an equity stake. Non-equity partners often refer to themselves as “glorified associates,” as they don’t bring in any business for the firm.
Partners in a law firm have the same daily duties. The primary difference is whether they are equity partners or non-equity partners. Equity partners typically earn profits, but they also have full voting rights and the ability to hire and fire employees. However, non-equity partners usually don’t earn equity shares and only receive salary and payments from clients. In general, partners in a law firm are expected to be leaders, with strong organizational and decision-making skills.
The title of “partner” in a law firm doesn’t mean much. Partners are considered “rainmakers” if they are able to generate enough business. Most law firms do not make partners out of rainmakers. Rainmakers become partners, but only if they are successful and have enough income to cover their salaries. If this is the case, a law firm may have to cut back on hiring associates, so it’s better to hire a rainmaker than an over-paid partner.