Made Partner? The American Lawyer New Partner Survey

partnership benefits

partnership benefitsAmerican Lawyer’s New Partner survey produces some interesting observations and facts – some unexpected, some perhaps a little less so.


The survey, which covered around 500 lawyers who became partner between 2010 and 2013 is itself notable for one fact: over half the respondents are non-equity partners, reflecting the rise of the two-tier partnership structure that has dominated partnerships in recent years.
So what are the major findings in the American Law survey? Law blog AbovetheLaw points to five, being:

1.  Pay – lawyers are well paid. Shock, horror? Hardly, but around 82 per cent see increased compensation upon partnership with 62 per cent being either “very satisfied” or merely “satisfied” with their compensation.

2.  Preparation – lawyers made partner were ready for the responsibility.

Per Am Law, “[a] large majority — 85 percent — felt adequately prepared by their firms for the job. Most of those who didn’t feel prepared cited a lack of training in one key area, business development.”

3. The partnership process can be increased by switching firms.

If you’re brought aboard at a new firm as a midlevel or senior associate, it’s probably because your new firm needs greater capacity or wants to build out your practice area. If you spend your entire career at one firm, there’s no guarantee that the type of work you evolve (or settle) into doing is a priority for that firm.

4. The stresses and problems in making partner are prevalent.

As one new partner told the American Lawyer, “Most asso­ciates are lazy and entitled. Hard work, dedication, and intelligence are still avenues to making partner.” Ouch.

5. It’s tougher for women.

t takes longer for women to make partner (more than three-quarters of male respondents made partner within 10 years, compared to just two-thirds of the women); fewer women feel well-prepared for partnership; and fewer women expect to be rainmakers (a third of women, compared to 50 percent of men).

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