Question: I am a mid/upper-level associate at a top firm in a large Midwestern city. Although my reviews have generally been positive, my partnership chances are murky and I still have several years to wait until a vote. However, I have recently brought in my first substantial client.

Should a Law Firm Associate Move from a Large Law Firm to a Smaller Law Firm to Increase Their Odds of Making Partner?

I have been offered a position with a much smaller (20 to 25-attorney) firm. The new firm would basically match my salary, and I'd be "considered" for partnership in a year (for what that's worth), with the managing partner implying I'd be a shoo-in when the time comes.

I am concerned about the move for several reasons. First, my husband and I may (but may not) want to relocate in several years, and I know moving to a smaller firm will complicate matters. Second, there has been significant change in the composition of the partnership at the new firm over the last five years - I am concerned about stability.

Do you think this opportunity is worth pursuing? If so, what sorts of hard-hitting questions do you think I should ask about the turnover, and the structure of the firm's partnership, to make sure I know what I'm getting into? In short, how does one do due diligence in this situation?

Answer: Whether you stay at your current firm or join the smaller firm, you cannot be guaranteed a win-win situation.