“PARTNERSHIP.” To many lawyers, this term and the accompanying change of status represent the pinnacle of their legal careers. For the associate at the law firm, it is the summit reached after many a late night and lost weekend. For the lawyer first starting out on his or her own with a colleague or two, it is the first step towards building a new and hopefully prosperous business and professional relationship. On the other hand, for others, it is like winning a pie-eating contest where the prize is more pie.

Whatever one feels about “making partner” and regardless of the context in which it happens, newly elevated partners must become aware of the full scope and nature of their relationship with their new partners and with third parties — in most cases, by reviewing the law firm’s partnership agreement. Following is a discussion of various critical areas which the new partner should look for and carefully examine in the partnership agreement.