As I sit before my computer monitor writing this short article, the window for my document is minimized so as to maximize my view of my desktop background—a view of our beloved, blue planet from two hundred miles above its surface. The stunning vista of creamy, white-blue clouds and indigo sea against a black, starless sky reminds me of the amazing richness of opportunities constantly before us?and of our regrettable inability to take advantage of all of them. Fortunately, leading full and joyful lives does not require that we take advantage of all opportunities but, rather, that we carefully choose the precious few possibilities that we can and will pursue. What a difference it will make in your law career if you seize those few opportunities and take full advantage of the doors they open!
No Such Thing as "Making Partner"
Candidates ask me all the time, "Which firms are making partners now?" I always respond, "None of them!" The dead silence is usually followed by nervous laughter. "No, really," candidates say. "I know it seems like that, but where are associates really making partners?"
At this juncture, I usually let them in on a little secret: things have changed in the practice of law since the 1950s. Here's the bottom line: there are no more firms where associates simply "make partner." Instead, associates grow up, get clients, create practices, and only then are awarded partnership status.
What this means is that attorneys must know how to create thriving practices while maintaining heavy workloads, and most firms cannot or will not expend resources to teach lawyers how to do this. They are on their own. Well, almost.