It’s often said that law firm associates should treat the partners they work with as they do the clients they work for. Call it the “golden rule” for advancing in a law firm.

The problem with this advice is that there will always be an imbalance of power between client and lawyer—clients are always in control of the relationship, although their level of control varies depending on how interchangeable they view a particular lawyer’s expertise relative to others. But in all instances, clients wield the power to hire or fire lawyers, which is the ultimate form of control.

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