The partners are happy.

That is the clear message of the 1999 American Lawyer survey of 624 partners sprinkled across the Am Law 100 law firms. In overwhelming numbers they report that they find their work stimulating, enjoy the life of the large firm, consider their partners to be friends or at least trustworthy colleagues, and, for the most part, are satisfied with their compensation (which averages, by their report, a very satisfying $526,000). No matter how we tortured the numbers, the results were the same. Young and old, men and women, New York and Los Angeles, litigator and transactional law yers–the partners are content. They work painful hours–a median of 57 a week. They’re pushed too hard by callous clients. Their work strains their family lives–but not “seriously.” That’s all part of the package and not remotely worrisome enough to dampen their enthusiasm for their careers and accomplishments.

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