Law Firm Leverage

The debate over leverage in law firms continues. Clearly, figuring out the appropriate associate to partner ratio is a delicate balancing act. With too few associates per partner, you do not have the capacity to handle large deals and litigation matters and your profitability suffers because you can not capture as much work. If your ratios are too high, you run the risk that associates will be underutilized when work slows down.

That is all from the firm’s perspective. But from a career perspective, there is also a balance. Bigger firms tend to have access to more complex work. Working at a large firm is more likely to give you good training. But as you get more senior, the lack of room in partnership ranks can be problematic for your career. While this may not be an issue when you are a junior associate, it is certainly something to start considering by your fourth or fifth year in practice.

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