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It is that time of year when senior associates across the land are staring at spreadsheet reports and pondering the all-consuming question, “Is this the year I make partner?” The holidays are long over, and the first few months of billable hours are on the table. For the senior associate, this is the culmination of years of strenuous effort with a single overriding goal in mind. And yet, how many of these associates started their career with a clear idea of the tasks ahead?

Newly minted lawyers view partnership as a state of being that confers money, power, respect, security and control over one’s destiny. Partnership, however, lies far in the future. Whatever thought they give to achieving this treasured status is probably a naive assumption that appropriate reward will follow diligent effort: Bill the required hours, and admission to this exclusive club will be inevitable.

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