Law Firms

Path to BigLaw partnership gets longer for some, new survey finds

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The partnership track has gotten longer in recent years, according to experts who spoke with and about 42% of newer partners responding to an American Lawyer poll.

The American Lawyer polled about 350 lawyers promoted to partner between 2018 and the present for its 2021 New Partners Survey.

About 42% said the partnership track was longer, about 39% said it hadn’t changed, about 16% didn’t know whether it was longer, and less than 3% said it was shorter, according to the survey.

About 64% of the lawyers polled were nonequity partners. Nearly 60% said they worked five to 10 years before becoming a partner. Another 31% said their path to partnership took 11 to 15 years.

Rob Delicate, co-founder of legal recruiting firm Erica Robert Associates in New York, told that partnership tracks “have certainly gotten longer across the board.”

Delicate is among the experts who told that law firms are more often offering roles such as career counsel and nonequity positions that can provide long-term homes to attorneys or act as a proving ground for equity partnership.

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