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After Graduating from Law School, How Long Does Someone Need to Practice Before Becoming a Partner?

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We asked attorneys throughout the U.S. one question. After graduating from law school, how long does someone need to practice before becoming a partner? We received several opinions that should give law students an idea of how long it will take before becoming partner with a firm. Some attorneys noted that it depends on the size of the firm and what type of work ethic and qualities the individual brings to the table. One attorney pointed out that it is much harder to become a partner today than it used to be. What do you think? Share your response in the comments below the article.

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The simple answer is, 'it depends'. The main factor is where you go to work after law school. I started my own boutique practice so I was immediately a 'partner'. My friends at large law firms found it could take as long as 10 years to make partner, IF they made partner. Many attorneys do not put in enough time or build a large enough book of business to become an equity partner at a large law firm. They may take a non-equity position or become 'of counsel'. If you work at a mid-size or smaller firm, the economics are different and you may be able to become a partner at an earlier stage of your career. If you distinguish yourself from the competition, work hard and build a good book of business, you will be in a better position to become a partner sooner, rather than later. Unlike the old days, however (when all the lawyers in a firm were on the firm's letterhead) partnership is no longer guaranteed.

-Steven G. Bazil, Esquire
Bazil McNulty
www.bazilmcnulty.com
 

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