When you're an associate receiving positive feedback for your intelligence, diligence, and impeccable work product, it's hard to fathom the need to start learning an entirely different set of skills for the later phases of your career. But success as an associate does not guarantee long-term success as a partner. Unfortunately, most law firms don't do much to prepare associates for their eventual role as partners; rather, they encourage the skills and attributes that make them valuable in supporting roles, primarily legal skills. Although your status increases and there may be some pay (and billing rate) increase associated with becoming a partner, this increase is bestowed upon you not so much because you are suddenly more valuable to the firm, but rather because the firm is investing in you and betting that you will grow into your new role. Promotion to partner is much more a forward-looking decision—a leap of faith based on what the firm thinks you can contribute as a partner—rather than a backward-looking decision to reward you for being a good associate. This is an important distinction to recognize because you will remain relatively vulnerable until you fulfill your perceived potential. ... KEEP READINGOriginally published April 2, 2013
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