The legal profession is filled with highly motivated and ambitious professionals. It is therefore unsurprising that the dream of becoming a shareholder or partner preoccupies the minds of many young lawyers. Indeed, it’s likely near the top of any lawyer’s list of professional goals and aspirations. Reaching this career milestone is ingrained in so many young lawyers, but are the implications fully understood or appreciated?

The motivation for becoming a shareholder varies, but some of the most common reasons are likely rooted in a desire to obtain public recognition for your hard work and dedication to the firm, gain respect among colleagues and the legal community, and take on a more managerial role in your workplace. Answering the question of why you want to become shareholder may be revealing, and you may discover that there are other ways to satisfy these needs besides becoming shareholder, such as organizing internal committees in the firm, or running for high-profile positions in outside professional organizations.

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