The path to equity partner in Biglaw can be difficult but can also create unexpected opportunities in the market
This week I read an eye opening article providing an “inside look” into how to make equity partner at one of the world’s most profitable firms. It made me wonder about how aspiring partners ever figure out how to generate business, and what opportunities get created when a firm charges that much money to clients.
Read on for more.
How to make equity partner
Earlier this week I read a fascinating American Lawyer article about how to make partner at Kirkland & Ellis. It’s an eye opening look into how to make equity partner at one of the world’s most profitable firms.
My biggest takeaway from the article was how much focus is placed on charging the highest hourly rates & maximizing the total number of hours billed. According to one partner, in order to make it you have to bill at least 2,500 hours per year. To be clear, “making it” means making equity partner. Not the non-equity partner title that Kirkland seems to grant virtually all of its senior associates. From the article:
Having such a vast number of lawyers with the title of partner allows them to forge their own reputation, build relationships with clients, and bill higher charge out rates compared with peers at rival firms, say rivals. It’s a structure that’s effective: the firm generated $6.042 billion in the last financial year.
It all makes sense. You don’t become a massively profitable firm without some of these practices. Not only are Kirkland partners generating huge amounts of revenue for the firm, they’re also finding new clients, cross selling, and finding new revenue opportunities. Again, from the article:
…a lawyer’s rating is decided by senior members of the firm based on a combination of a variety of factors including hours billed, revenue generated, business development activities such as cultivating relationships with and winning clients, knowledge management and pro bono work.
Reading all this, two thoughts came to mind.1