The Reality of Becoming a Partner at a Major Law Firm

Becoming a partner at a major law firm is quite an accomplishment, but with it comes a shift in roles: you have now moved from labor to management.

Being in management, you are now responsible for maintaining or growing the pie – either by growing business with existing institutional clients or by bringing in clients of your own. 

Not only may you have to bring in new clients, but you may also have to ensure they’re the right kinds of clients – that is, clients who reliably pay their bills on time and at appropriate levels, so you can maintain a good realization rate.

The reality is, you start off each year with zero dollars in your account. No matter how good a year you had, you go back to zero the following year. This is a very real and additional pressure you did not feel as an associate.

And while your billable hour requirements may have dropped, you still have to do the work! This is IN ADDITION to bringing in new business. 

Finally, to state the obvious, business doesn’t just come magically rolling in. You have to actually go out and work for it. Getting a new piece of business can take years and, as a result, hundreds, if not thousands, of interactions.

So, with many new responsibilities, it can be easy to push your business development responsibilities to the side. If you find this is happening to you, you may want to consider hiring a business development coach. A coach can keep you focused and accountable, save you precious time (which is now in scarcer supply!), and help you build strong, lasting relationships with potential and existing clients. 

If you think you could benefit from such a coach, please feel free to reach out to me at

 Published by Sheryl Odentz on LinkedIn on October 13, 2021. Sheryl Odentz is the founder of Progress in Work LLC, an award-winning career management counseling and coaching firm. Sheryl helps lawyers and other types of professionals with a wide range of career issues such as career transitions, business development and leadership.