Profits per equity partner (PPP) matters. The figure reflects a firm’s prestige and the depth of its pockets, both of which are prized in the internecine war for the most commercially productive partners.

One simple way to augment PPP is to divert partners from the equity to the nonequity ranks: As the number of equity partners falls, the profit per equity partner rises. Thus it is not surprising to read news of firms increasingly promoting associates to the nonequity rather than the equity tier, and even of de-equitizing incumbent equity partners.

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