Here’s an excerpt from an article in Above the Law today:
Faced with client pressure to keep down costs and industry competition to achieve the highest profits, law firms now frequently assess which lawyers are worthy enough for the top rungs of partnership. Those who don’t bill enough hours or bring in enough business are quietly asked to leave or demoted from the so-called equity tier.
In a survey of law firm leaders from late last year by legal trade publication the American Lawyer, 56% said they planned to take away equity from partners in the coming year, and 67% said they planned to ask partners to leave.
There’s more, but it’s all basically this ugly. Making partner at a big firm is not a sinecure any longer. You are going to have to deliver clients, and revenue, and billable work. And if you don’t, your partners are going to cut you a lot less slack than they used to, and they may cut you none at all. And 2/3 of the firms surveyed aren’t simply going to deequitize people. They’re going to fire them.
You have to market, you have to develop business, and you have to do it in the face of ever-mounting competition. This is admittedly self-serving, but it’s also admittedly true. The party is well and truly over.