Is “Up or Out” In or Out?

Law firms are conservative institutions where change comes slowly. It does seem, however, that “up or out” partnership models are starting to be replaced by alternatives that allow good talent to stay on in something other than a partnership role. The ABA’ Law Practice Magazine has a good article on the trend.

There are so many reasons why “up or out” is outdated. Few of today’s law school graduates expect to achieve partnership (based on my own anecdotal evidence.) Many talented associates are interested in finding more work/life balance and are willing to compromise on salary. Also, in 2007, it makes no sense to give professionals one shot at advancement. Law firms would do much better to create multiple steps to partnership.

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