How Much Does a Partner at a Law Firm Make?

Making partner at a law firm is one of the hardest and most prestigious jobs in the legal industry. Partners make their money by bringing in business and profit sharing with those above them.

They are also incentivized by KPIs like billable hours and client matters won or retained.

Some firms have non-equity partners that receive a salary instead of profit share.

Equity Partners

Becoming a partner at a law firm is a goal that many associates work toward for several years. During that time, they work hard and bill a lot of hours in hopes of getting promoted. Unfortunately, becoming a partner doesn’t guarantee you’ll get to earn more than a senior associate who works just as hard. This is because firm partnership compensation is highly subjective and only fellow partners know who makes what.

The amount a partner makes depends on their performance and how much they bring to the table for the firm. For example, if a partner is considered a rainmaker for the firm they will usually make a lot more than other associates because they are the ones who are bringing in business and money. In addition, if a partner can meet certain pre-established criteria such as the number of new matters brought in, client development, and back-office duties they will receive a higher bonus percentage.

It is also important to note that equity partners do not receive a salary, but rather a share of profits each month. This is determined by the number of equity points they have accrued, their service line, how important their clients are to the firm, and other factors.

This is why it is so difficult to determine an average for partner salaries. There is such a large variance from one partner to the next. For this reason, it is best to consult with a legal recruiter who understands the industry and can help match you with a law firm that offers competitive pay.

Non-Equity Partners

Besides having a high salary, it is also important to consider what type of partnership you are going for. Most attorneys go for equity partnerships, which come with a greater sense of job security. However, if you can’t generate enough revenue, or do not bring in enough business the firm may demote you to non-equity status.

Non-Equity Partners

Some firms do not have an equity partnership structure, but rather income and non-equity partners. This is often done for practical reasons, including allowing the firm to attract a larger pool of talent, avoiding conflicts of interest, and creating a better environment for younger attorneys. Non-equity partners do not own the firm or share in profits, but instead are offered a salary that is set by the firm’s patterns or committee.

If you’re interested in learning more about making a successful career transition into big law, the Power Forward Group would love to speak with you. Our experienced legal recruiters have helped place countless attorneys into their dream jobs across Atlanta, GA. To learn more about our services, contact us today. We offer complimentary consultations!

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