One could argue that it’s not enough. A good senior associate is worth their weight in gold and there are plenty of them out there. But if on this page last week The Lawyer’s editor was bemoaning the fact that female lawyers hide their light under a bushel, tracking down the legal world’s wunderkinder is an even harder task. So here’s a challenge: let us know about the future superstars. Drop us an email and let us boost their careers.
This week’s cover story, starting on page 12, is one for the associate crowd. The process of making partner is, if not exactly a secret, then not something that firms shout about much externally either. At many firms it remains a bit mysterious – not very helpful if you’re an ambitious associate investigating a potential lateral move. We’ve attempted to do some demystifying by investigating the route to the big leather chair at five sample firms – all with some kind of US heritage.
Since it’s a rare thing to go through the trial by attrition that is making partner at two different firms, it is likely that most lawyers have little insight into the process outside their own experience, and might assume the nuts and bolts of being made up are broadly the same anywhere you go. But, in fact, while committees and practice group leaders do loom large in most firms’ processes, there are significant variations on the main theme. There is potential for firms to learn from each others’ quirks. Latham & Watkins’ system, which is unusual in that it gives associates a place on its promotions committee, is worth mulling over, for example.
Space prohibits us from looking at more than a handful of firms in this issue, but our feature provides a taster of what’s to come in our expanded report on the Top 50 US firms in London, to be released in May.
Never before has The Lawyer looked so deeply at the DNA of American firms in the UK; not just their financial details but their cultural identities, diversity stats, training schemes, wellbeing policies – and, yes, career prospects too. Get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
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