Partners: Are you tired of funding someone else’s retirement?

retirement balloon
It is that time of year when bonuses are coming, and many non-equity or junior partners may be asking themselves this very question.

Many Biglaw firms can’t get their senior partners to retire or to pass along their clients to younger partners fast enough.

In a very well written and thoughtful article written by Anonymous Partner and published at Above The Law, the author speaks with William Henderson and reviews his most recent analysis on the BigLaw model.

The author draws the following conclusions:

 (1) the idea that senior partners have a responsibility to the next generation of partners has taken a back seat to considerations regarding Biglaw’s current financial performance, and (2) while the size of Biglaw firms may make the development of “firm-wide strategy” impossible, at the very least partners should make a concerted effort to ensure that there is at least an actionable and sustainable strategic plan in their practice group. Of course, if firms are simply too big to be true partnerships anymore, then perhaps we need to redefine what being (even an equity) partner means in a Biglaw firm these days. Or come up with a new title for mid-career or senior lawyers who are not rainmakers 

In light of this, a very strong argument can be made for the agile and entrepreneurial mid-sized and boutique approaches that many of my clients are embracing.

In this season, as I watch It’s a Wonderful Life with my kids, I am reminded that the days of 40 years at a firm, a gold pocket watch, and smooth sailing into the sunset seem to be gone.

The entrepreneur in me allows a moment of wistfulness, but appreciates the values of meritocracy and actual rewards for an individual’s hard work. I would love to hear your impressions.


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