I am a sixth year litigation associate with a large firm in Los Angeles. This year the firm promoted only two associates to partner and neither one works in the Los Angeles office. I have consistently had very good reviews, and the Los Angeles partners have told me they will go to bat for me when I am up for partner. However, the Los Angeles office of my firm does not have the pull and power it used to - which, I believe, is partly why the firm did not promote anyone from our office. While I am happy at the firm, I can not help but be concerned for my future and opportunity for advancement. Meanwhile, I have a friend who moved to a boutique firm several years ago, and he was just promoted to partner as a sixth year associate! What should I do?
Sadly, the chances of making partner these days at a large firm are slim - even in a booming economy. There are many factors that come into play as to whether someone is promoted to partner, including likeability of candidate, potential of candidate to bring in business, political savvy of candidate, candidate's practice area, hours candidate billed over the last 3+ years, and the economics of candidate's firm. In the case of a large firm's branch or satellite office, you also need to consider the office's overall reputation within the firm. It is important to consider whether the partners in your office have the ''pull'' to help advance your career. If the firm has routinely promoted associates in your office to partner and this happens to be an ''off'' year due to the economy, then my best recommendation would be to stay put but explore other opportunities as a precaution.