Partnership Can Be Fleeting

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Work-driven associates who make law firm partner can no longer rest assured that they will be able to hang on to the position.

The Wall Street Journal (sub. req.) notes the growing trend: Large law firms are increasingly demoting or firing partners in an effort to increase profits per partner, making it easier to attract and keep top rainmakers.

“Partnership is no longer a tenured position,” Michael Boone of Dallas-based Haynes & Boone told the newspaper. “You have to get up every Monday morning and prove yourself all over again.”

Attorneys in less profitable areas such as real estate, employment and trusts and estates are particularly hard-hit.

The paper notes three big-name firms that have recently fired or demoted partners: Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw and Jenner & Block, both based in Chicago; and Powell Goldstein, based in Atlanta.

Mark Jungers, a recruiter at Major, Lindsey & Africa, told the newspaper that elite Chicago firms have probably demoted more partners in the last year than in any other prior period.

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