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If partnership is a career goal, then often there comes a time when as a senior associate you need to make a choice. Do you sit and wait for promotion at your current firm or do you consider other opportunities in the market? There are a number of reasons why someone would consider a move at this level and it is not always because there is a bottleneck for promotion. There have been a significant number of individuals that have felt they were very much on track at their previous firm but made an evaluation that a different platform would better serve their practice.

During the last recruitment cycle, law firms have reacted to individuals’ demands for partnership. In the late 1990s, only a handful of firms were willing to offer the immediate partnership badge to laterally-hired associates. These ‘vertical’ moves were quite uncommon and met in the market with a degree of surprise. The assumption seemed to be that the individual in question was a veritable superstar or had attracted a huge following. But over the last five years, vertical promotions into partnership have become relatively common. At the beginning of the last recruitment drive, there appears to have been a general shift in policy and a number of firms have aggressively looked to secure the best available talent by offering the title of partner.

Over my recruitment career I have met with a number of senior associates, almost all of whom were looking to move into immediate partnership. A number of them have successfully moved into new partnership roles and it was interesting to see how they had fared.

Over the last couple of months I have spoken with a number of these individuals to find out:

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