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This year’s class of newly minted partners is composed of the associates that stayed the course. As midlevel associates, many of today’s new partners were besieged by lucrative or potential offers to join startups, investment banks and consulting firms. Their fellow associates abandoned the law in unprecedented numbers. “This class and the ones coming up saw the worst attrition in decades,” said Robert J. Kafin, the chief operating partner at Proskauer Rose. Kafin speculated that, because of rampant attrition, there may be a decline in partner classes at top firms for a period that corresponds to the length of the economic boom. “It’ll be like the spike in the birth rates during the big blackouts,” he joked. Proskauer made three partners this year, compared to four the year before. Sullivan & Cromwell only made four partners this year, compared to 14 last year, and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett made five this year, compared to 11 last year. But other major firms made more partners this year than last. Dewey Ballantine made 12 partners this year compared to four last year. Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison made five partners, as opposed to three the year before. Weil, Gotshal & Manges made 20 this year and 18 last year. It remains difficult to detect many general trends when it comes to partnership elections, as the path to partnership is so long and varies so much by the individual. EFFECTS OF ECONOMY The state of the economy does not appear to have much of an impact on how many associates are elevated. For instance, though transactional work has been down for much of the year, firms have continued to add many more partners to corporate departments than to litigation and bankruptcy. “These are long-term decisions,” said Mel Immergut, chairman of Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy, “We wouldn’t make partnership decisions based on any one or two years.” Milbank made seven partners this year compared to eight the year previous. Barry Willner, managing partner of Kaye Scholer, agreed. “The pendulum swings,” he said, referring to economic conditions. “But you don’t want to risk losing the investment you’ve been making for the last eight years.” Two decades ago, when Kaye Scholer was a much smaller firm, Willner said, economic prospects may have played some role in partnership decisions. As the firm grew and gained large institutional clients, partnership choices became solely about merit, he said. “We don’t expect anybody coming up to have any clients,” he said. There is no one route to partnership, and those lawyers that arrive at that destination have a wide diversity of experience. Glenn Pogust, a new Kaye Scholer litigation partner just promoted from counsel, knows how much of a role economics plays in the life of a partner though. This is actually the second time that Pogust has made partner. He started his career out of Fordham University School of Law at Olwine, Connelly, Chase, O’Donnell & Weyher, which he joined as a first-year associate in 1980. He made partner in 1989, only to see the firm collapse and fold in November 1991. In those last turbulent years at Olwine, he said he saw such a “precipitous drop in income” that he envied the associates who always made their salary, no matter what. “It made me realize the different responsibilities and obligations a partner has,” he said. Among those responsibilities and obligations have always been hard work and some sacrifice of personal life. Some firms have shown flexibility. One of nine new partners in the latest class at Debevoise & Plimpton was Rebecca Silberstein, who is among New York City’s growing ranks of part-time partners. Silberstein became a part-time associate as a second-year at Debevoise, after the birth of her now 7-year-old daughter. She did not think about becoming partner, but not because she was part-time. “When you’re so junior, you just never think about becoming partner at all,” she said. However, by the time she was a midlevel associate and thinking about becoming a partner, being part-time did not seem to be much of an obstacle, largely because the firm already had a number of part-time partners. Part-time partners do exchange compensation for their more flexible schedules. Silberstein takes two days off during the week, but she still works about 40 hours a week total. “I’m still a corporate lawyer,” she said. Related chart: 2002 Partner Classes at Top 25 Manhattan-Based Firms

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