There are two paths to partnership: equity and non-equity. Equity partners share the firm’s profits, but are not decision-makers. Many firms have two tiers of partnership. While the majority of firms promote from within, some hire laterals and promote from below. Regardless of the path you take, the benefits of equity partnerships outweigh the disadvantages of non-equity.
Before you start a career at a Biglaw firm, consider what you hope to achieve after graduation. Often, attorneys at this stage are working long hours, paying off massive student loans and gaining relevant experience. Depending on the size of your firm, you may be able to control the kind of work you do and set your own schedule. If you fail to manage your stress effectively, you may find yourself burned out and unable to work properly.
As a result, most law firms shy away from hiring lateral candidates from in-house roles, focusing instead on attorneys with a higher-profile background. In-house counsel, on the other hand, are typically expected to be accessible to clients during business hours. Additionally, in-house attorneys have fewer attorneys to cover their work when needed. A career path that starts at a law firm can be extremely rewarding and gratifying.
Despite the advantages of big law, it is important to realize that it is not the right path for everyone. Even though Biglaw firms offer great support for the best lawyers, you should still consider other options if you want to be more independent and enjoy your life. Remember that a career is a major commitment, so you need to consider the pros and cons of each before making a decision.