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The nonequity partner tier mushroomed in 2020 at dozens of large law firms, while far fewer firms shrank their nonequity tier. Meanwhile, the equity partner ranks at many big firms kept flat or contracted.

Several factors are behind the trend: a movement of young lawyers into the partnership as others in the equity tier retire; hesitancy among firm leaders to let lawyers go when demand isn’t dramatically dropping; and the pandemic stiffening the criteria for equity partner decisions, first out of a concern to keep up profits.

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Lizzy McLellan

Lizzy McLellan is a senior editor on ALM's business of law desk. Contact her at [email protected] On Twitter: @LizzyMcLell

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Christine Simmons

Christine Simmons writes about the New York legal community and the business of law. Email her at [email protected] and find her on Twitter @chlsimmons

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