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TIERS FOR FEARS - As evidenced by the most recent Am Law 100 results, the number of nonequity partners has ballooned at a number of large firms after a trying year that ultimately culminated in eye-popping profit growth. But whether a firm’s nonequity ranks are the sign of a tight ship or a sinking one has a lot to do with how lawyers land there in the first place and where they ultimately end up. Nonequity partnership can be an important stop along the career advancement path to equity partnership. It can also be a way to recognize the contributions of certain lawyers who are valuable but are not necessarily interested in or suited to ownership. But, as we explore in this week’s Law.com Trendspotter column, the nonequity tier is to often used as a convenient tool for avoiding many law firms leaders’ two biggest fears: diluted partner profits and uncomfortable conversations with underperforming lawyers. I’m interested to hear what you think: is the nonequity partner tier useful or unnecessary? Let me know at [email protected].

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