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Ann Israel is the legal profession’s Dear Abby. A New York legal recruiter since 1979, Ann is a past president of the National Association of Legal Search Consultants. Advice for the Lawlorn is updated every week.


Q: I read your response to the question from the associate who stated that he had a 50-50 chance of making partner. My only issue with your response is that I think it is dangerous to put any faith in “guarantees” of making partner two years from the date of the statement. Don’t you?

Dear Faithful: Um, yes, I surely do. In fact, not only is it dangerous to put faith in those guarantees, I think you have to be in la-la-land to believe in guarantees of partnership at all, especially those made so far from the election date.

The stories I could tell … over the years I have met so many midlevel to senior associates, and I had the perfect opportunity for them. They would be ready to accept the offer, but then they realized that partnership in their current firm was all but “guaranteed,” and/or they were a “lock” for partnership, so they decided not to make the move after all.

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