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Let’s face it: Making partner isn’t a science. If it were, every first-year associate who wanted it badly enough would ascend into the partnership, firms would lose all their leverage, and chaos would reign. So we must accept the fact that partnership standards are subjective. They vary from firm to firm and, depending on the economy, they can change at an individual firm from year to year. Given that, how does an ambitious young lawyer put himself or herself in the best possible position to be promoted to the hallowed halls of partnership?

The No. 1 path to law firm success is this: Young lawyers should be obsessed with learning their craft, making each project their own and being the MVP of every team they’re assigned to. Doing that not only puts you in the best possible position for making partner, but in the unfortunate event that you don’t (for reasons beyond your control, of course), you’re such a good lawyer that you can take your skills elsewhere and make a pretty good living anyway.

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