While nonequity partnership has transformed the former “up or out” construct at law firms, it is still primarily a bridge to full partnership rather than a final destination, according to a management consultant’s survey.

Nonequity partners — also known as “tier” or “income” partners — have been a growing breed of big-firm lawyer since the mid-1980s. Rather than draw against bottom-line profit, they are typically paid a healthy base salary plus incentives tied to personal and/or firm performance.

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