Most of us remember that famous Yogi Berra quote: ''If you come to a fork in the road, take it!'' Earlier this week, I spoke with a non-equity partner at an AmLaw 100 firm who realized he had come to a fork in the road. He had been a service partner for over 20 years and was recently let go. His words were painful to hear, but insightful: ''No one cares what law school I went to. No one cares about the quality of the work I have done. No one cares that I have been working hard at the top of my game servicing clients for over 20 years.'' With the recent economic downturn, more and more non-equity partners who do not have business of their own are being forced out of firms. Having serviced other equity partners' clients for so long, many non-equity partners have had little or no time to build their own books of business and now find themselves at a fork in the road. If you are a non-equity partner who is at your ''fork in the road,'' Yogi's unique insights might prove helpful.
''I have been a service partner my entire career and do not have the necessary business to move to equity partner.''
Whose fault is this: Yours or the firm's? If you're honest with yourself, you will probably conclude that both you and your firm are to blame. What will you do differently going forward?
''My firm's billing rate structures are too high and that has really prevented me from bringing in my own clients.''
- Treat your own practice like a business and put together a business plan.
- Execute tasks which will bring about client relationships that will lead to new business.
- Join a firm that will support your business development efforts and allow you to not only service work but build your own practice.
- Develop an expertise that will distinguish you from other non-equity partners in your practice area.
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