[00:00:00] This is actually a pretty fun presentation and it's something that a lot of people have told me that, it's based on this article and kind of advice that I've given that has been instrumental in. Helping their careers. And if this is the the first time you'd been exposed to this I hope it does help you quite a bit and it can help you.
[00:00:18]Also if you're currently a partner, it doesn't matter if you're a law firm partner or if you want to be a partner. The advice that I'm going to talk about today can really help you quite a bit. I'm going to talk to you today about the seven reasons. Why law firms do make people partners and and and the different obstacles that, you might encounter along the way when excuse me, coffee here.
[00:00:42]When trying to become a partner. And one of the things that's interesting is over the past several years, I just, not recently, not too long ago Before everybody was out and about a little bit more I've been on airplanes and so forth where, I've just, for some reason when I'm on airplanes, I tend to watch like [00:01:00] a lot of these shows where, you know, documentaries and stuff, and I've watched at least a couple where they're training Navy seals and.
[00:01:07]Typically these types of shows are, they're all very similar. They show that people giving up they, they do things like they put down their helmets, as a sign you're giving up or they ring a bell or just walk off. And and then there's always an announcer in the background with a deep voice that says something like, it got too much for him and he could no longer cope or, and this is the hardest, these are the strongest people and It's not easy doing this and that's why many, quit and and it's, it seems like the same thing over and over again.
[00:01:34] And I've watched a lot of these shows. So it just why this metaphor occurred to me. And the idea is that if you want to be a seal lots of people are going to try, but the most important thing really is having the endurance and not getting enough to succeed. It's a test of it, like your wealth.
[00:01:49] And, when people are trying to become seals or do anything very significant like that a lot of people do quit and they quit because it's very difficult. Many times you [00:02:00] don't get a lot of sleep you may be forced to run long distances hold your breath for a long period of time.
[00:02:06] And. Deal with extreme cold. Like a lot of times they make them sit in the water for a long time and, they get them up in the middle of the night and there's just all sorts of stress that it's just not normal. People don't encounter that kind of stress on an ongoing basis.
[00:02:20] And at each step, recruits too, tend to be, give up. It just becomes very difficult. And then the final week typically is called hell week and and that week they're given even less sleep that works even harder. The conditions even more difficult and And, and many people go into that week thinking they're gonna make it.
[00:02:39] And then and then many more actually will quit during that week. And so recently, I was watching one of these and it occurred to me that a lot of what's going on, I was soldiers who want to be seals is what's going on with attorneys who want to be partners and both large and small firms that are very competitive.
[00:02:57] Many of them will give up too soon. They. They [00:03:00] get close to the post to the finish line when they give up. Or they just, they find reasons to quit. Wait when other people are quitting and and many could make it, but most do not. The rewards being a seal, are huge.
[00:03:14]The first thing is you get the identity of being a seal. Once you have achieved something like that, you can say you did it forever. I've met many of these people and they're very proud of it. They're more proud of it than anything many times that they've done in their life.
[00:03:28] I had one of my family all the time and he would talk about it almost every time I would see him. It was just something, he was very proud of him. That's how people would refer to him, even though he had a very successful career apart from doing that. And and people that knew him were proud that he was a seal, his family was proud of him.
[00:03:44] And and it's more just about being in the Navy. If you do that, it's about having a cheese, something that's very difficult and not a lot of people can achieve. And it's much more likely, if people are talking about you as an attorney for people too, Say that, [00:04:00] you were a partner in a given law firm just as opposed to saying you were an associate or counsel there.
[00:04:04]Becoming a partner in a major law firm is a this is a big deal. There's not a lot of people that do it. And there's lots of people that have practiced in big law firms, but there are very few that have the stain power to become partners. And it's not always about being the best.
[00:04:20] A lot of times it's just about sticking around. And and just as in being a Navy seal, the barriers for someone to become a, a partner in a law firm are often psychological. And for me, actually, when I was, here at a law firm, one of the reasons I left is it was physical.
[00:04:37] I just didn't like, not being able to sleep all the time. I just felt it was just too, punishing on my body. In my career for over 20 years, I've been speaking to attorneys several attorneys a day for over 20 years. So they're looking for jobs and and most of them are very successful or that good careers.
[00:04:55] And and I've watched many of these people become partners in major law firms, but [00:05:00] most of them that I watch we'll leave ultimately and do something else. They'll go to work for the government. There'll be come in-house counsel somewhere. They they may become a counsel in a law firm as opposed to a partner or they may quit the practice flaw together.
[00:05:13] And these sorts of choices are all very similar to the CEO who puts their head down and brings the bell and they just, they give up, they look for a ways out and things That are different. And, the idea is that, once you put your head down, you can rest, you can, you'll suddenly have less responsibility, less pressure, less free time.
[00:05:35]And it's that easy. And so in order for you to really become a partner in a law firm you need to decide if you want to push hard and if you want to be at the front of that pack of the Navy seals, or if you want to. Give up and it's always easy to give up. Anybody can give up, it's very easy to give up and but the hardest thing is not giving up.
[00:05:54] And then if you don't give up, then learning the rules that people follow the, make them successful. [00:06:00] And the thing is, success leaves, clues and everything that I'm going to teach you today is do easily things that you can duplicate. I've met attorneys that I have encountered horrible personalities.
[00:06:12] They become partners in major firms. I met people with great personalities that haven't, I've met people that are super hard workers that have, it are people that are super hard workers that have. And but there's certain things that people that become partners in the best firms all do.
[00:06:24] And and the biggest thing though, is to understand is that whether or not you want to become a partner in a large law firm is. Going to be in many cases dependent upon what's inside of you and how much you really want to do that. So one of the first things that you need to understand regardless of where you are in your career is law firms do not want to make partners.
[00:06:49]They They really don't. They want they want people to leave especially if you don't have any business they and mainly if you don't have any business, we have a lot of business, then they don't even believe. The more people that [00:07:00] are leaving the better they are.
[00:07:01]They, there's fewer people competing for the the money that the firms bringing in. And the profits of the firm it makes the existing partners feel better about themselves and those around them. And and then the fewer people make partner. The more, the people that are there are respected and considered the top of their game.
[00:07:20] So there's much less money. There's much more money leftover for existing partners to if a law firm doesn't make partners. The law firms that make you partner will suddenly have to share profits. This may decrease the income that the law firm partners make, unless they're not paying you very much.
[00:07:36] There are firms that make people non-equity partners and make a lot of money off non-equity partners. A ton of money if you're a real partner, you're sharing the profits of the firm and so forth. The firm will be having to pay you a lot more money than they might not otherwise have to do.
[00:07:51] And so most of them will prefer that you stay an employee and they all, they have all sorts of, very smart ways to keep you an employee as opposed to a [00:08:00] partner and sharing in the business. And. One of the things is as they will keep you an associate as long as they possibly can.
[00:08:07]It's it, literally, I've seen people that are 20 years out become associates many law firms, including some exceptional ones will make even, most people counsel, they won't, hardly ever make partners. And they may make you counsel or they may make you a non-equity partner which is.
[00:08:23] Essentially, it gives you the name of a partner, but you're not really a partner. It just gives others, the perception that you are a partner and that it's possible to become a partner. And and non-equity partner is not a real partner, but it's still a title and it can be quite meaningful at some firms.
[00:08:41]So when I talked to Know, I'll, all day I'm talking to, because a lot of the, people that are senior associates for example, are, understandably want to find firms and places where they can get, they can become a partner. And, they'll say things to me many times the firm hasn't made a partner in this office 15 years and and [00:09:00] the idea that.
[00:09:01]Because it's so difficult, many attorneys will believe that there's nothing wrong with giving up, going in house going to work in a boutique law firm or doing something else entirely. Know one attorney in a major New York city law firm that decided to open an ice cream store, they just, they, a lot of times people will get so fed up with the impossibility of becoming a partner that they'll do something that.
[00:09:22] It doesn't necessarily, make the most use of their skills and try something completely different. But law firms the way to think about the balance of power between you and a law firm is law firms will make you partner. They will definitely make you a partner but they will only do so if they have to they have no incentive to make you a partner, unless you're bringing in and giving them a far more.
[00:09:45]Then then, then they're taking from you. They just have no other reason to law firms. Aren't going to make you a partner generally because they like you or because it seems fair for they're not going to make you a partner for any reason other than that it benefits them.
[00:09:59] And and [00:10:00] so that's what I'm going to talk to you guys about today. And and all these things are important for you to understand, because you cannot. Unless you're providing the big thing for you to remember today is unless you provide them a lot more value than you're taking, then the law firm has absolutely no incentive to make you park.
[00:10:19]So the first thing that a law firm will consider is if you have a lot of business or if you. Look like you're going to have a lot of business that the law firm can exploit. And notice I say the word exploit there, meaning, they're going to, they're going to exploit what you're bringing in and get a lot more out of it than you're necessarily giving.
[00:10:37] So the amount of business you have is extremely important because if you have if you have a $2 million book of business, which these days is, it used to be. Years ago when I started in this profession, like everyone wanted a $1 million and then pretty soon it became two and now two's okay.
[00:10:54]It's even more than that. And a lot of firms, a lot of firms even be in the game. You need five or [00:11:00] 10, but 2 million if you have a $2 million book of business, law firms may pay you somewhere between four and $700,000, maybe more, maybe less.
[00:11:09]And then you have to ask yourself, okay, would that $2 million in business you're bringing in, even if you're doing most of that, work yourself, what's happening to the rest of the money that you collect and what's happened. You used to spend on things you can't control, which are the loppers overhead, which is office space.
[00:11:25]You're paying for it, salaries of associates that may be, or may not be working. And harder it's paralegals secretaries, it's, trips, business development for other attorneys opening new offices for the firm who knows. You honestly never know. And but that's what's happening.
[00:11:42] So you're bringing in as a partner, you will be bringing in a lot of work in business and you will be paying out generally two-thirds or more of that to the law firm. For all these friends services that you don't necessarily have any control over. And I'm not saying that's a bad thing because the brand of affirm and the [00:12:00] type of support and the associates and the, and all these things are worth something.
[00:12:04] But, you're kidding, Jen, what you're contributing to most cases. And and so that's something, you need to consider and you need to have a lot of that extra gravy that you're throwing off to be a partner. When you bring in business your value proposition to a partnership is basically like this.
[00:12:21] It's like you're saying I have $2 million a year. To give you can I have an office and a secretary and $500,000 in common self, a partner. And then you can say, you can do whatever you want with the extra $1.5 million. I give you a chair and that's basically what the proposition is. And so if you think about that from, and they can hire associates and they can do all sorts of things, but a law firm, that's making you partners, essentially, making that sort of calculation that, can I.
[00:12:48]What can we do with all this money? This person's giving us? Are they someone that's, contributing a lot because a partner means you're contributing, you have something major to contribute to the firm. That's going to make them think [00:13:00] about it.
[00:13:00]So they have to think about that and that's kinda how it works. And there's some firms where honestly, you could have, Five or $10 million in business as an associate. And you might still not be able to partner, but most of them, with these types of value propositions will make you a partner because it's a no brainer.
[00:13:15] It's it's just a no brainer. For the law firm, if they're going to make a lot of money off of you they need, they want to like you and they want to feel like you can be managed and all sorts of things, but, typically they're going to want you'd have quite a bit of business in order for that to be realistic, or they want to believe that you're going to have business or that they can plug you into existing institutional clients, which I will talk about in a little bit to do the work.
[00:13:38]And what happens is, a lot of times attorneys at major law firms won't make partner. And it can certainly, with different types of business, they can move down the food chain and maybe move to smaller firms which is another option. And if you don't have a ton of business but your business increasing but law firm may be interested in this and take the seriously.
[00:13:59]What'll [00:14:00] happen is someone will be an associate and they may, or a junior partner and they'll start bringing in clients. And then, you can see a gradual based in their amount of business. And that's a good investment. Like when I Know, private equity company or a venture capital firm is many times investing in companies.
[00:14:16]What they're doing is they're looking to see if the revenues are increasing. If the revenues are increased, then that means it's a good bet for that. And then they'll try to get down out on the ground floor. And that's what law firms do to a law firm is essentially a something that's investing in people and it will invest in people if it believes that they're going to potentially bring in.
[00:14:36] A lot of business and money over time and the ones that look like their businesses increasing many times law firms will have seen this thing play out numerous times. And when I say a thing, they will have seen how, how it works for attorneys that are bringing in business and how that increases over time.
[00:14:52] And that will something they invest in. And, the thing is the more money you bring to the table or look like you're going to bring, the [00:15:00] more likely the law firm is to make you a partner. And it's a driving force in the entire equation. If you're doing work, but just sucking up money and, and looking like a bad investment, then, then you're a liability.
[00:15:11] And but if you're bringing in a lot of money to feed the army, then you're very valuable to the whole firm and. That's very important. Law firms need people that are bringing in a lot of money. They depend on them for high profits per partner. They pay, depend on them for the pain, the overhead.
[00:15:26] And, if you really want to be partner in a law firm the big thing you need to think about, and it really the most important thing. And I hate to say it, needs to be the business that you have. And there's really. Nothing more important and developing business early on, and then trying to develop those relationships.
[00:15:42] And this is the one thing that so many people miss, they, hope for advancement without this element. And it's something that you definitely need. Another thing that you can. Make partner many times without business is being connected to a very powerful partner or group of partners that [00:16:00] have a lot of business that the law firm is exploiting.
[00:16:03] And what that means is, many attorneys that make partner in large law firms are connected to a, another partner. Who's typically a very powerful partner with a lot of business and. That law firm may be exploiting that partner and meaning they may be getting a lot of business from that partner.
[00:16:21] And and that partner has some say in what's going to happen. I want to make that partner happy. If the partner has a ton of business if that partner gets behind somebody and really wants them to succeed, then they're likely to potentially advance and, there's lots of partners and, and most big law firms in every city with 5 million in business.
[00:16:42] And there's many partners that have well over 10, some have 30, 40, there's partners with huge books of business and partners like that, that are throwing a lot of money in the pot and supporting a lot of people. Are very valuable because they're giving other partners work to do they're paying for other people's schools and cars, [00:17:00] vacations, and houses and all this.
[00:17:02] And the law firm doesn't want to upset them. So that law firm, if that partner with a ton of business wants to make someone a partner that doesn't necessarily have a lot of business, the law firm is likely to get behind them. So the way to think about this is. Imagine that you're partner without with some business, but not a lot.
[00:17:21]And this is something that fits us, many attorneys and law firms and, you have the opportunity to impress somebody that's going to give you say 500 hours worth of work a year. And These partners, the kind of partners that allow you to get to a couple thousand hours a year are going to help keep you employed.
[00:17:38] And if he didn't have those people around you having, if you're a partner and you're giving out a lot of work to other people and other partners and then if they want, if they ask you for something, and you're likely to do it. And so that's one of the ways that people.
[00:17:54]Get, give me a partner, is they these powerful partners that give other people work get behind them [00:18:00] and get other partners to support them. One of the reasons is that many partners actually will leave firms. When when they try to propose people for a partner that it worked very closely with them and they can't get support and sometimes, or even groups of partners her not supporting the more powerful partners because they're not getting work from them and jealous and stuff.
[00:18:18] So there's always a lot of stuff going on behind the scenes that attorneys don't necessarily understand. So you can pick a very powerful partner and to work for and to spend a lot of your time with, and not get advanced. There's all sorts of negative things can happen, but for the most part, if you're Working very closely with a power partner and that partner has a lot of political capital and also a lot of business that they're giving out to other partners.
[00:18:43] They can many times get other people to support you, and that can help you quite a bit. If you want to become partner and most firms, you really do need to get behind partners that have a lot of power, a lot of business. And and not only because. One of the reasons, it's because [00:19:00] they, you can learn from them and watch what they do and become a better attorney.
[00:19:03] You learn how to get business, but also just because of the fact that those partners will many times be able to help you when it comes to making when it comes to you being a partner as well. Can and their support can go a long way. You can get the support of those partners.
[00:19:18] We're working very hard by making them look very good. So you go out of your way to give them credit for your work. You cover their mistakes and have their backs. You build a clients in a way that helps the partners. Sometimes they may actually want you to undergo clients to keep them happy.
[00:19:34]You can build up the partner when the partner is not around to appliance and that will get back to the partner. You can many times the partners want a confidant. And you have to be careful with that, but sometimes, if you keep secrets and you're good at that, that can help you.
[00:19:49] All right. You can help the partner develop business by going on a pitches just being very loyal, not talking behind the back making their life and job much easier, anticipating things and telling them about them before they [00:20:00] happen. A big one for a lot of people. It's just being at work for the partner, gets there and then leaving after the partner goes home prioritizing that work above your own, make making it very important correcting work and just really having their back and.
[00:20:15]And those are, that's how it's always worked and and then also making sure that you're, you're turning in perfect work for that that doesn't require any review. And and this is just how it works. It's, even if you have business, these types of things are important, business makes it less important.
[00:20:29]Most firms, where that have largest tuition appliance and stuff, really, the only way, you may get ahead is if you're doing these things and and if you don't want to do these things and you're going to have to figure out how to become a partner in another way, but, people want to help others and help them.
[00:20:45] And if you make others feel important, significant, over time they're going to reciprocate by helping you as well. And and one of the things that I've noticed, and this is just a, a quick point, many people that aren't able to become partners in law firms [00:21:00] let their egos get in the way.
[00:21:01]They don't think, for example, that they should have to develop business. They don't think that they should have to be kiss asses to people that are, have a lot of business. They don't think they say things like I didn't go to law school to operate a photocopier and do scan interview someone's personal assistant and the quality of their work, their benefactors, not their concern.
[00:21:21]The, their own people and, they don't own a high degree of loyalty to people. And it just, all these sorts of things that will get in the way of someone being very effective at their job and necessarily advancing and that kind of thought pattern is fatal.
[00:21:35]You should never be in a position where, you're against the hand, that's feeding you. Or biting the hand, that's feeding you if you think about it. Everyone needs to kiss ass. Presidents of the country need to, CEOs of big companies billionaires rockstars, everybody needs to so you know, the idea that you didn't, the only reason potentially that you don't would be, because you think that you did really well in college and on the LSAT and [00:22:00] and went to a great law school and now work at a big firm.
[00:22:02]None of this makes much sense, but you're going to see a big difference in your level of success. If you learn how to serve the people. And it's actually very good training, so anticipating the needs of clients and making clients feel important and so forth an attorney watching you do that with them.
[00:22:18]We'll also see that same thing play out. W if you do that with clients who will also be very effective with them as well, So the other thing that can be very important is being connected to a powerful client or group of clients. And. And those clients that give the law firm a lot of business and that the law firms exploiting can also be very good.
[00:22:37] It's actually not as common to make partner from this third reason as it is because you have business or because you're connected to a powerful partner, but many partners in major law firms. I do make partner each chair because their connections with powerful clients. If you, sometimes you may be tasked for working for a major client.
[00:22:55]And if it's a major client at the firm you really want to be do everything in your power to [00:23:00] impress that person. It means, not only doing the best work possible, trying to keep their bills down and really just going out of your way to do a good job for them.
[00:23:07] And and the more you understand the client, their business and the more, you're a client's port point person, the better off you're going to be. And what that means really is it means, getting close to the client into doing very good work just being more available, more impressive then anybody that the client's ever worked with and just the client really needs to feel like you, you have their back.
[00:23:29] And you're always available for them. You're anticipating issues. You're calling them back right away. And and you and, to some extent people that make partner just the relationship with the client becomes so strong that that if the client were to leave or if the associate or whoever's working on their case were to leave, then you might th the client might go to, and that that's something that law firms will stop if they can, but.
[00:23:53]If you do that over a period of years you can be in very good shape. And because th the thing is [00:24:00] that the law firm thinks you're getting too close to the client. And and the worry that you'll steal the client, they'll just stop giving you work for the client. So you need to be very subtle about it.
[00:24:09]But if you become, just indispensable to the client and the law firm actually, can't fire you or her or anything. You have to be very careful, but especially if it's a big institutional client many attorneys will spend years getting close to clients and and it just needs to be done in a way that, your connection is going to grow stronger and stronger.
[00:24:25]And the client will demand, you're the point person. You need to be seen as someone who saving the client money, who's anticipating issues is making the client money and just being very good in all respects. And at some point. If you're doing this for a long period of time, the client's going to say, become a partner yet.
[00:24:42] And but the law firm will bring this up and at some point and they'll bring it up the law firm asking them why you're not a partner. And and and and if the client starts going to bat for you, then that can actually be very helpful. And yeah, and it does happen and people [00:25:00] do make partner because of that.
[00:25:01] And. So that can be very helpful and getting as close as you can to the clients and becoming very indispensable and really being in a leadership position with the clients, like looking more like a partner than the partner who's working on the case, looking more really good attorney, understanding the ins and outs of the business and anticipating things and saving them money and making the client money and not just billing the money.
[00:25:25] And and by making the money, telling them about, things that could hurt them and stopping them before they happen and getting them out of litigation more quickly than they might otherwise. And just all sorts of things. The closer you get the client better off. So the other reason that people typically often make partner in law firms is because they worked so hard.
[00:25:44]And this is something I've seen many times they've worked so incredibly hard that to not make the person partner would just demotivate the whole ship and motivate the motivated all day. Other associates there and, ours are very important. If an attorney is not billing a lot of hours, the law firm simply doesn't [00:26:00] make money and law firms love it.
[00:26:02]When their attorneys that are billing a lot of hours. So it sets a good example because if one of their attorneys is billing 3000 a year, and then the other attorneys are billing 2000, it sets a higher goal for people. So if they see that the attorney is billing all these hours You know it, and they're more likely to make the person partner and in many large law firms that have, institutional clients, it can be very difficult to bring in business and and it can be very difficult for them to become the go-to person for a particular client or partner.
[00:26:32] And. The only way to really show your value to the law firm. If you can't bring in business is to just dedicate your life, heart, soul to just billing. Absolutely. As much as you possibly can. You need to show them that nothing is more important to than your job. And and I don't know how many hours is enough in most firms, because they're all different, but, I would say.
[00:26:54]If the average attorney they're spending 1800 hours and you build 2,500 hours, that's going to help you. If the average [00:27:00] attorney's billing 2000 and you build 2,800, that's going to help you. You can just use these sort of metrics. The average bill is 2200 should bill 3000 for 2,500.
[00:27:09] You should both 3,300 or 3,500. Need to look like the most profitable possible investment. That you can to the law firm and someone who really wants to be part of their club, and it's really doing everything you can to contribute with our institutional clients. And, I don't think any of these expectations are crazy or awful.
[00:27:28] It's just the way it is. And you need to look like the absolute. Best person in the pack you need to be, when they see you, your numbers in the spreadsheet and on paper and they see, they compare them to other people, you need that's the only way you can possibly look like, you want it the most.
[00:27:43]When people apply to law schools, their grades, are a big thing and that's, and you get good grades by working the hardest. So that's how you show you on it. The most, it's no different for attorneys and law firms as well. And. So many people, this is where a lot of people fail.
[00:27:58]They they put [00:28:00] down the, the helmet and I said, I don't want to do I want a life outside of work. This is not for me. And that sort of thing. And and these are all valid reasons. If you don't want to work hard like that, then you don't have to. And but it's, if there's no other way to get ahead, meaning you can't bring in clients, you're not close to partners that you should be and you're not bringing in business and this is.
[00:28:20]What you need to do. And this is what many people see as their only option. And doing this will show the firm how dedicated you are and what the job means to you. And once a firm sees us, it's very difficult for them not to justify it. Making new partner, law firms want to help those that they believe are very dedicated just as you would, if someone was working for you.
[00:28:39] And the problem is and this is a big problem is that, even the people that work the hardest and law firms often are not golfing do not become partners. I I was talking to a girl not too long ago. And she was on this huge patent case to the sperm and built, 2,800 plus hours for three or four years.
[00:28:58] And then the case went [00:29:00] away and then all of a sudden she, and all these people lost their jobs, and not only did they lose them, not only not my partner, but they all lost their jobs because the case went away. But so it's a big risk, but at the same time, you need to understand that.
[00:29:12]Getting all these billable hours in many firms, it's also not that easy. And the reason it's not that easy is because the law firms have to think you do good work to give you that much work. People that aren't getting those kinds of hours, typically aren't doing the best work. So that's just another thing to keep in mind.
[00:29:27] And one of the things that I wanted to bring up and I'm bringing this up as an aside, but. One of the biggest skills of any attorney is the ability to create work and find things to be done. The best attorneys will always figure out how they can make work.
[00:29:41] They'll do it with clients. They'll do it with other partners that they're doing work for. They'll find things that need to be done for the clients. They'll find things that need to be done for partners. And, so the best attorneys will they'll come up with research assignments. They'll come up with Whatever.
[00:29:57]They'll just have all these ideas about why [00:30:00] this type of work is necessary and they'll come up with work. And this is one of the biggest skills but attorneys need that. You need it in order to bring in clients, you need it to build up big books of business. You need it. It's a very important thing.
[00:30:12] And the ability to come up with work and to create work is really how attorneys create wealth and opportunity is by doing all these things. And so creating work that needs to be done and finding work that needs to be done is all. Extremely important and you need to be become an expert at that.
[00:30:28]It's not easy. You need to, I'll just give you a quick example. When I walk around a house or my house, I can always see things that I could do. Like I, maybe the doors aren't good enough. I could replace the doors or that they could be painted or the hinges can be, oil, the carpeting could be claimed carbon and could be replaced.
[00:30:47] The faucet could be replaced. The air conditioning filters could be cleaned. The air conditioning can be recharged. The air conditioner could be painted because it's got a little bit of rust on it. All these things are what the best attorneys do. You look at a [00:31:00] situation and you figure out what can be done and you're just come up with endless work to be done.
[00:31:04] And that's what the best attorneys do they come up with. All sorts of things that can be done. I'll never forget when I was graduating from high school, I was at this attorney that was a very successful, he graduated from like a local law school in Detroit and and I always had the son's graduation party and this guy was going up to.
[00:31:25] Everybody. And they would say, Oh, I got a speeding ticket. And he would be like, Oh, this is terrible. You need to do this and this I'll go to court and represent you, your insurance could go up, it could affect your future. All the, just on and on about why these people needed an attorney.
[00:31:41]And these kids, and this was just the way he did, he was just finding work to be done even at a party. The point is, and and he was just a, kind of an auto guy. Traffic tickets and stupid stuff like that. But, the point is that, the best attorneys are always looking for work and ways to increase work.
[00:31:55] And and if there's one thing you understand today, your ability to, we do that with clients and so [00:32:00] forth. And your ability to do that with the work that you're given is really how wealth is created a more firms. And it's, the ability to do that is important, not, finding things that can help the client and work.
[00:32:09]And the other thing is if you're a very hard worker, you're just, you set up a good role model. And and law firms really want to see the hardest workers and they want to advance them. And if they don't make them partner, then then it doesn't set a good example for all the other people that are working really hard.
[00:32:26] The hardest workers typically are the ones they want to advance. And the law firms need to reward people that work extremely hard because of not doing so. The entire system will crumble. There's just no way to keep it going. And I know many people that have made partner just by having a couple, two or three extraordinary years of just very hard billing where, everybody in the firm is aware of how hard they were working.
[00:32:49] If they didn't make them partner would just look very stupid. Some of them, they made partner in that. They didn't bring business, let them go later. But the cost of making them partner from that [00:33:00] standpoint, wasn't that bad. It was a smart thing for them to do. And and so for in large law firms, that's really the most common way to make partners just spilling a lot of hours and and the harder, the longer you do that typically what'll happen is someone will be.
[00:33:14]And especially in the largest law firms, they may work really hard for six or seven or eight years. And then the law firm may string them along a couple of years and CFA just keep doing it. And if they keep doing it, they'll make them part. And it's very common, for them to string them along.
[00:33:27]Each time they do it, they're just saying, are they going to keep, do they have the commitment to keep doing this? And. Did they have the, they're going to keep going in the face of rejection and so forth. So it's almost like becoming a Navy seal. Like they, the closer you think you are, the harder it gets, how we can solve it.
[00:33:42]So another one, the way that's can be very easy to make partner in many firms is when a law firm is faces a major series of departures and and they need to an example for the firms. One thing can happen. And there's law firms may have be losing top partners and associates or others.
[00:33:59]And [00:34:00] sometimes it's, they're you don't know why that's happening all the time. Sometimes a law firm could be letting go dead weight. Other times a law firm could be facing real competitive pressures in the market because it's, billing rates are too high or there, who knows, and they're not paying their partners enough that their costs are too much just keeping the mind that in the background that, law firms, all, partners, I have to, because sometimes, if you're at a law firm, when there's all these departures calling, that's often the best time to possibly get become partner and and many partners meaning our main partners when a law firm is in the middle of trouble.
[00:34:33]They Yeah. And in addition, I've seen times when, law firms looks like it's supposed to going out of business and then the law firm starts making partners and asking for buy-ins, which is funny when you think about it. But at the same time, because then the person that's making partner's words, they're going to lose her investment in the firm.
[00:34:49]But th the idea is that, it actually can be a very good thing. To make partner, if you're at a law firm, that's having a crisis because most law firms go through crisises and recover. Law firm is a very [00:35:00] old business model. Its costs aren't really that high. It's just a cost of labor and an office space and so they if you're offered a partnership role in a law firm, that's having a lot of problems.
[00:35:12]That can be a really good time if you get behind the firm and are a cheerleader in the middle of issues that. That can be a very smart thing to do. And very few people do that. Most people get on a bandwagon and go against a firm and the firm's having problems. And if you're able to, be very strong, that can help you.
[00:35:28]Other ways in a firm will make you partners. So the titles mean less, so in many law firms, without, naming them, it's not the big of a deal, the majority of them actually the title of partner it can be something quite meaningless non-equity partners essentially can be, it's a salary position for the most part.
[00:35:45] It's very difficult to make an non-equity partner in many firms, but in some it's not and the title is certainly is a, it's a sign that you're doing a certain level of work and that you, the law firm trust you with the title. So it's a very big deal, but in other firms it's not as [00:36:00] meaningful.
[00:36:00]Because then you may actually be in a position where you may need to leave if you're not generating business. And and and others, you can stay there indefinitely with that title, but but others it's meaningless. And a law firm that where the title is meaningless will tend to be a little bit free with that title.
[00:36:17]And then the final thing that I think is very important in terms of making partner is if you have some sort of special expertise or skill or connections that the law firm finds it can't get elsewhere. And. One thing is that are some attorneys out there that are so fricking smart that the law firm just doesn't want to lose that I've encountered some of those people in my career.
[00:36:37]It's amazing. How good some attorneys are and and law firms may just not want to lose them. Whatever your practice area. Some attorneys are. Very good and trial. That just have a real way with juries. Others are exceptional writers others are just an obscure area of the law or are, even if they don't have business, they may have other types of skills.
[00:36:59]And so being [00:37:00] exceptional at something can really be meaningful. If you have a very special skill that the law firm can't find elsewhere than the law firm is can, will very often make you a partner. And another thing that's also important is just special connections.
[00:37:13]You could have been in the government and had very important connections there. Or you may have been with an important family connections in the local area or the government or industry or you can just be a very well known attorney and all that could be very helpful. And so there are all sorts of possibilities but that's one reason that people make partner as well.
[00:37:32]In closing. And then I will take questions after a short break is, the only way you need to think about the prospect of making partners the cost of making you a partner must outweigh the cost of not making you a partner. And so you have to have, a lot of value that that you offer the law firm in order for them to do that.
[00:37:50] And it has to be much more than they're willing to give up No and retire. So I'm quick break for one or two minutes, and then I will be back and answer as many [00:38:00] questions about anything you want that you guys have. Thank you.
[00:38:03]So I'm going to take questions and then I will answer as many questions as anyone has today. About any of this stuff. And you can ask questions about what I talked about today, or you should feel free to. Ask questions about anything that you guys any questions you have about your career and it's obviously, it's very helpful for, for me to ask questions, cause it helps me know what everyone's thinking as well and helps me plan future articles and webinars and stuff.
[00:38:28] So any questions anyone has, I'd love to answer them. Cause the first question is I haven't had my law license active for a couple of years now because I couldn't afford CLA because I had a legal job since January, 2009. First firm was five years of practice with, after that gaps in different topics.
[00:38:43] What do I do? Would recommend getting your license active. I think you need to have an active license. Don't think, CLE is not, doesn't have to be necessarily that expensive. I think there's a lot of. Inexpensive programs you can do. I know that when I did CLE last, I think it was maybe [00:39:00] $300 or something.
[00:39:01]So I would recommend there's nothing wrong with having gaps in your resumes and attorney. The important thing is to just explain if you have five years of experience, by the way, that's a lot of experience. So I don't think you're going to have any difficulties.
[00:39:15] Getting in another position, but I do think you need to get your your CLE reactivated. I think that would be very important. And 2009 is a long time since you haven't had a job, but I still think that's okay. So I don't think you would have any problem transitioning you back. My question though is, if you, why you would want to, if you were doing something else.
[00:39:34] I think anytime someone does something else with their legal career there's always a real possibility that's, they did that because it's not what they wanted to do. So I would think about that. Okay. So the next question is I appreciate your accurate and blunt assessment of how old, the legal profession functions.
[00:39:50]I would like to yeah. Ask you about a topic I haven't seen you write about yet. I would like to know what, in your opinion is the real value of being bilingual and the legal profession. More specifically, I'm fooling the Italian. [00:40:00] We'd like to know whether this is a skill I should attempt to rather accept as a skill that should not significantly guide my goals.
[00:40:07] My goal is to move from a life of solo practice to one in a small town. To transforming myself into, from attorney in a larger market utilized my scalp. My gut tells me that their linguistic ability is not really as important as my commitment to the practice area that I'm already experienced in which would involve the use of language thoughts.
[00:40:26] Yes, I agree. So language can be important. Languages important, for example. If you speak Japanese, that's an important language to have experience. And there are certain languages where, and that's just because not a lot of people in Japan speak English and there's certain languages that are more important than others romance languages, typically aren't as important.
[00:40:46] In the U S speaking Italian, it's not going to be something that I would think would help you very much with firms the most important thing is going to be your practice area languages. Having a language skill is good. For example, in Los Angeles if you're [00:41:00] dealing with various consumer facing practice areas, which would be immigration or, family law and things speaking Spanish would be is a very good thing in our bankruptcy.
[00:41:09] But where there's people that need those services that don't speak English, but at the same time most languages aren't going to help you. With major firms some of them will but most of the time it's not really going to help you. Most law firms are hiring you because of your legal background and your skills.
[00:41:26] And I think that I think your instinct is correct. That the practice area is the most important and that's really what they're most concerned about. I don't speaking Italian is a good thing and there may be if you had the Italian bar or something that could help you.
[00:41:40]But there's just not a lot of firms in the United States, but that's an important thing. The only way you could make use of a language skill like that and find someone that potentially would be interested in you because of your language skills would be to find firms that are made up of people that are Italian that maybe have Italian clients.
[00:42:00] [00:41:59] And I know of a firm like that that I encountered not too long ago. I don't remember the name of it, but in New York and it was a very good firm and and there are firms like that. So if you could find a firm that that does something like that could be very hard. But other than that yeah.
[00:42:14]Unless the firm has a specific opening and I, it may be difficult. One thing I would do is unlock crossing. There's this thing called the law crossing archives, which lists all of the jobs that the firm has ever had, or that. And you can search and you can search by keyword.
[00:42:30] So if you entered the word Italian and search, for firms where maybe they are asking for people that spoke Italian that could be helpful and you could potentially find firms that way, you could also do Google searches for terms like, Italian clients, law firm, you can do.
[00:42:46]Things like that. And so the idea would be you want to focus your search on places and firms that have hired people like that for, and that would be the most important thing. Okay. So I hope that helps. But the biggest thing you can do really is just do searches [00:43:00] and searches for various types of attorneys the practice, what you do.
[00:43:04]Okay, so I'll be out. Then out of law school, 30 years, this may, I built up a nice little bankruptcy tax practice with a consistent $300,000 in annual revenue, small market. All right, that's good. And I have credentials. I graduated from UCLA, have been president of my local bankruptcy professionals association
[00:43:21]served on committees that chose bankruptcy judges and such I've long believed though that had not seen a chance to be recruited by a firm because bankruptcy. And tax work is pretty much not repeat business. True. I'm just playing to all for the partnership thing, this in the eyes of others, since you suggested that might be more out there in the market than I think.
[00:43:39] I figured I'd ask you directly. Should I even bother looking? The thing is, there's a couple of reasons to not look. And I think they outweigh the reasons to look if you have a bankruptcy practice and you have, $300,000 in revenue in a small market then, and that's enough to interest most law firms in you, because they will be interested in that and pain and taking a [00:44:00] percentage of your income.
[00:44:01]And to support you and to offer that to the clients, and maybe you can even get more work. So I don't really see Too many issues with you and getting into a law firm. I think if you build that up to 500,000, you can even get into law firms and mid to large size markets. Don't know how big the law firms would be, but some of them would be a decent size.
[00:44:18]Bankruptcy work is tends not to repeat itself very much. But tax work can, depending on the type of work you're doing and tax so I, I think that, although this stuff sounds pretty good, I don't think he would have too much of an issue getting a job in a law firm, especially in another small market.
[00:44:37] But the thing that I would say is, I'm not sure why he would want to with the amount of business you have, it sounds like you have enough income to globe, it also sounds like you've have a lot of independence and it also sounds like you've built up your own business and.
[00:44:50]So you have to ask yourself, why would you want to go necessarily to work for someone else's business and be at their mercy and and risk undermining the way [00:45:00] you're currently bringing in work and so forth. And I don't know how you're doing it, and I'm assuming it's connections and other things, what you might be better off doing is improving your existing contacts and and getting more work out of them by, making more contact with your local bankruptcy professionals and so forth.
[00:45:16] I don't know, but I'm just not sure if I was in your situation and I would have been on a law school and you're actually, having been on a lot scope 30 years does not make you that old sounds like practice for at least 20 or 25 more years. If it was me, I probably would. Just try to improve the practice that I have and maybe grow that.
[00:45:33] But if you do want to work in a law firm, many attorneys, by the way I encounter are, want to work in law firms and they want to go back to work inside of law firms. And I think the reason for that or if they haven't worked in them, it's just because it's something they haven't got out of their system.
[00:45:46] And I don't know that's always the right thing. If you. Been successful in doing something and you are successful, then why would you try something else? Where the worlds are going to be less clear because right now you're making all your own business decisions and you're running your own [00:46:00] business.
[00:46:00] And and if you go to work and someone else, you're going to be working for their business and they're going to be watching when you come and go, they're going to be you're going to have to do things and their roles, and it may make you a better attorney. And it may actually grow your book of business, but.
[00:46:13]Is that something that you want? That would be what I would think. Okay. This next question. I am a fourth year associate very godly in DC and contemplating a move approximately to Texas or elsewhere in the next year or so. I've generally been practicing antitrust law for a few years. The thing holding me back is that I'm not sure what opportunity that should be looking for.
[00:46:33] My goal is to have better hours between 19 and 2100. And it goes somewhere where I'd have a better shot to make a park. Do you have any idea of the types of firms I should be shooting for to achieve those goals? Mid-sized firms or just specific big law firms? I'm also not sure whether I should be trying just for commercial litigation positions or where I should be looking for antitrust positions.
[00:46:53] Clare is a top I antitrust firm out there. So I think it adds a lot to my resume, which path litigation versus [00:47:00] antitrust you think would be the best to achieve my goals. Okay. That's a good question. It depends on the market you want to work in. In DC, obviously there's a lot of antitrust firms.
[00:47:08] I don't know where you're from. But the problem with antitrust is a lot of times it's not necessarily litigation. And I don't know. And a lot of times there's people that also make the kind of money you've been making it clear, Gottlieb, want to make same or similar amounts of money in other markets.
[00:47:22] So that can be. Somewhat problematical my my advice would be probably to think very seriously about, what market you want to be in. There certainly are firms who do antitrust Oliver, Texas you have the ability to do two types of antitrust right now.
[00:47:37] You're doing it sounds like mainly defense and you could also do plaintiff's antitrust, which there's firms who do that in Texas, or you can do defense antitrust typically, after four years you're usually a little bit better off sticking with your your specialty in terms of what you've been doing, but, you can obviously transition into litigation as well.
[00:47:58]It's going to be a little bit more [00:48:00] difficult to transition into litigation from the perspective that, your resume probably should highlight, litigation related stuff. You've done as well as talking about antitrust. The second you pin yourself and as an antitrust attorney, it's going to be much more difficult for you to.
[00:48:14]To get position. So you want to look like more of a generalist to different types of firms, if you want to work between 1,921 billable hours. I don't think that's that unreasonable in terms of billable hours I would do what you can to find probably two types of firms.
[00:48:31]One would be a boutique firm that does antitrust, a smaller firm where you might actually be able to bill a lot less. I would look at also plaintiff's firms to do antitrust work. And then if you want to work at litigation firms, I would 1900 to 2100 billable hours is not. Something that, that's unreasonable at large law firms, even in Texas so I would look at firms there.
[00:48:51]The other thing to think about is, if you do go to Texas if you work in Fort worth, as opposed to Dallas, or, it's going to be. Less [00:49:00] work. Then, if you work in Dallas, if you work in San Antonio, as opposed to, Houston, there's going to be less work.
[00:49:05] So it depends on the size market you go to in Texas. Typically smaller markets are not going to are gonna pay less, but there's also going to be lower hours. So I would think about all that, but the type of hours you're looking to build are not outrageous, in terms of that number of hours, I think those are.
[00:49:21] That's pretty okay. Anywhere. But I would recommend my advice would be to try to stick with anti-trust, but it's going to be much harder to get a position doing that. Okay. I hope that helps. And as many questions as anyone has, I'm happy to answer them. There are still some more here.
[00:49:36]Okay. I'm looking to transition out of my current position to another firm. I have never worked with a recruiter. Would you provide me more information about what working with a recruiter entails? Sure. So we're not so not everyone should be working with a recruiter and working with a recruiter.
[00:49:52] It's not necessarily always the best decision for people. If it was me I think it is the best decision, but typically what a recruiter will do. There's [00:50:00] different types of recruiters. And so there's recruiting and there's placement. Recruiting is typically when someone calls you or emails you or contacts you about a given job, and that person will.
[00:50:10]Try to get you interested in that job. And then if I can't get your interest in that job, they may only have one or two other things I can talk to you about. And then there's placement which we do, which hardly, I don't think there's anybody else that does what we do. And placement is basically you work with people and you.
[00:50:25]You identify the market for them in places that would be good fits for them. And