The conundrum every attorney faces is whether to work for a firm or strike out on his own. While this issue is not specific to minorities and women, I think lawyers in these groups face the question earlier in their careers, for a variety of reasons, ranging from business development to cultural fit.

My light bulb moment came when I realized that every firm partnership structure works on leverage. That leverage is built on associates and young partners working for high-paying clients. I quickly realized that while I might become a partner at a large firm, unless I landed a Fortune 1,000 client, I’d never be a decision maker. That sealed the deal for me, and, at the ripe old age of 28, I left the cosseted big-firm world and jumped off the cliff.

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