Law Firms

Wait for partnership at Weil is reduced by 2 years in bid to retain more associates

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Weil Gotshal

Weil, Gotshal & Manges hopes to improve associate retention by cutting the wait for partnership by two years.

When the system is implemented firmwide at the end of 2019, Weil associates will have to wait only seven-and-a-half years for partnership, the New York Law Journal reports. At that time, “substantially all” of the 7.5-year associates will be promoted to partner or counsel, executive partner Barry Wolf told the publication.

New partners will be fixed-income rather than equity partners. New counsel will be in one of two categories.

Lawyers in the niche counsel category for specialty practices can remain there as long as they stay at the firm. Lawyers in the other category get, at most, three years in the position. During that time, they may be promoted to partner. Those who don’t make it will be transitioned out of the firm.

Counsel in their second and third years will get a “stay bonus” to help keep them at the firm. “If they don’t become partner, they will have a title and more money to then go out and look for a job,” Wolf told the National Law Journal.

Weil’s decision to shorten the partner wait time is contrary to the trend of lengthening the time period. Weil had gone along with the trend when it increased the path to partnership to nine-and-a-half years in 2010.

Weil will be paying more money to lawyers who advance to the new positions. But Wolf told the New York Law Journal costs aren’t expected to increase “because we expect to retain significantly more senior-level associates, which will clearly improve leverage, increase revenue, decrease the cost of hiring laterally.”

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