Making partner is the pinnacle of a legal career at a law firm, the reason why most lawyers slave away for years. But these days, climbing up the ladder and reaching the very top isn’t the main goal for most associates in the U.K., Legal Week reports.

According to Legal Week Intelligence’s 2010 Employee Satisfaction Report, only 38 percent of the 3,800 associates surveyed consider making partner their ultimate career objective, compared to 45 percent in 2009 and 50 percent just two years ago. The numbers are even lower for female lawyers; only 29 percent say they’re interested in becoming a partner.

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