Jump to content
shawniebear

How to Become a Partner on Bay Street

Recommended Posts

Like many of my classmates at Osgoode, I dream of one day becoming a partner at a major bay street firm. I don't care what area of practice I am in or what type of work I do, I just wanna make as much money as I can, as quickly as I can, while doing the least amount of work necessary. I have always assumed that becoming a partner at a major bay street was the best way to accomplish this goal. If I am wrong about this, please let me know now so we can quickly end this thread.

But if I am right, my question is: how exactly do you become a partner at a major bay street firm? I am not the first person in my family to go law school, but all the other lawyers in my family worked as associates and then set up their own shops. None of them attempted to become partners at a major firm, and they have not exactly provided me a lot of insight with how one goes about accomplishing this. 

I understand that basically you have to start as an associate and work your way up and hope that they eventually make you partner. But can anyone provide more specifics about the step by step process that I have to follow to put myself in the best situation possible to accomplish this dream of mine. And yes, I do realize that it is a dream that will likely not come to fruition, but Im going to try anyhow. 

Thanks in advance !

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, pzabbythesecond said:

Get hired at a big bay street firm first.

I already have a summer job on Bay street and I have been told that I will likely be offered an articling position when I graduate. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, shawniebear said:

I don't care what area of practice I am in or what type of work I do, I just wanna make as much money as I can, as quickly as I can, while doing the least amount of work necessary.

You may have picked the wrong profession. 

  • Like 11

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, QuixoticLawyer said:

You may have picked the wrong profession. 

Trust me I know, If I could back in time I would have studied finance and tried to make it on wall street where the potential to hit it big is a lot higher. But that ship has sailed. Gotta make the best of this profession. For the record I am not lazy, I am a hard working guy. I just don't want to work hard for no reason, hence why I want to do the least amount of work necessary. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, shawniebear said:

Trust me I know, If I could back in time I would have studied finance and tried to make it on wall street where the potential to hit it big is a lot higher. But that ship has sailed. Gotta make the best of this profession. For the record I am not lazy, I am a hard working guy. I just don't want to work hard for no reason, hence why I want to do the least amount of work necessary. 

If you want to make easy money fast you would way better off working in oil field communities where you are the only lawyer for 200 miles. Bay Street is not the path to easy money. There's a reason there's a high attrition rate at those big firms.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would start by mentioning your desire to work as little as possible all while making the big bucks. Second, try to poach as many clients as possible so you get to call them your clients. Third, and related to the second, sign as many clients as possible without checking for conflicts because more clients equals more money. 

Bottom line, bring in as much money as possible while cutting as many corners as you can and you'll make partner by your fourth or fifth year.

Edited by FingersCr0ssed
  • Like 3
  • Haha 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, pzabbythesecond said:

So many things I want to say but the rules of civility won't allow me. Ughbhhhhh. 

 

Over and out. I'll just observe 

I like a healthy does of tough love. PM me with your 2 cents. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
32 minutes ago, shawniebear said:

Like many of my classmates at Osgoode, I dream of one day becoming a partner at a major bay street firm. I don't care what area of practice I am in or what type of work I do, I just wanna make as much money as I can, as quickly as I can, while doing the least amount of work necessary. I have always assumed that becoming a partner at a major bay street was the best way to accomplish this goal. If I am wrong about this, please let me know now so we can quickly end this thread.

But if I am right, my question is: how exactly do you become a partner at a major bay street firm? I am not the first person in my family to go law school, but all the other lawyers in my family worked as associates and then set up their own shops. None of them attempted to become partners at a major firm, and they have not exactly provided me a lot of insight with how one goes about accomplishing this. 

I understand that basically you have to start as an associate and work your way up and hope that they eventually make you partner. But can anyone provide more specifics about the step by step process that I have to follow to put myself in the best situation possible to accomplish this dream of mine. And yes, I do realize that it is a dream that will likely not come to fruition, but Im going to try anyhow. 

Thanks in advance !

Your expectations are out of touch with reality. As an Associate, you may be making anywhere from 100-200k on Bay Street depending on the firm and Year of Call, but you're also grueling away 10-12+ hours a day for that salary. On an hourly wage basis, you're really not making that much money. Compare the fact that you can make a six figure salary on Bay working 12-14 hrs/day, 6-7 days/week, and someone else may be making a little less than you (or the same/more) working half as many hours. It's one of the main reasons that the attrition rate is high, and somewhere around 50-60% of Bay Street lawyers leave within Years 1-3 of their call to the bar. They transition into smaller/mid-sized firms, other Biglaw firms, government, in-house, etc. with a paycut but better work-life balance and roles with a more long-term future attached. 

Almost nobody makes Partner in Biglaw nowadays, and certainly very few people will make equity partner as opposed to income partner. Income partner is another name for Associate. Don't be fooled because a lot of people don't know the difference. It's bitch work really. Good starting point for your career, but there are easier ways to make money.

Edit: 

https://www.canadianlawyermag.com/article/partnership-unmasked-2312/

 

Edited by Deadpool

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, lawstudent20202020 said:

If you want to make easy money fast you would way better off working in oil field communities where you are the only lawyer for 200 miles. Bay Street is not the path to easy money. There's a reason there's a high attrition rate at those big firms.

Wow I actually had not thought about that. Thanks for the insight!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
23 minutes ago, shawniebear said:

Like many of my classmates at Osgoode, I dream of one day becoming a partner at a major bay street firm. I don't care what area of practice I am in or what type of work I do, I just wanna make as much money as I can, as quickly as I can, while doing the least amount of work necessary. I have always assumed that becoming a partner at a major bay street was the best way to accomplish this goal. If I am wrong about this, please let me know now so we can quickly end this thread.

"I wanna make as much money as I can" and "while doing the least amount of work necessary" in no way describes a Bay Street partner.

First I should point out I am NOT a Bay Street partner.  I can only describe what I could see as a junior associate at a national firm out west that did have an office on Bay Street as well.

#1 was you had to work really hard.  That meant putting in a lot of billable hours of course, but you also had to be seen to be working hard.  Just powering through 7am-5pm wasn't necessarily enough - people had to see you working late.  Minimum billable hour targets are not going to cut it here.

#2 you needed a mentor or a patron.  Not right away, or not in articling necessarily, but someone who would help you out, fight for you to get you good files, and who was going to feed you a  lot of files.

#3 you needed to eventually build a book of business.  If you could bring in clients yourself all the better.  If you could inherit a book of business from a partner retiring or being appointed that's great.  But more  typically if you're working so much on an institutional client's files that the client just starts calling you up directly, not the partner.

#4 some X factor that I have no idea about.  I was never remotely close to partnership myself

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, Deadpool said:

Your expectations are out of touch with reality. As an Associate, you may be making anywhere from 100-200k on Bay Street depending on the firm and Year of Call, but you're also grueling away 10-12+ hours a day for that salary. On an hourly wage basis, you're really not making that much money. Compare the fact that you can make a six figure salary on Bay working 12-14 hrs/day, 6-7 days/week, and someone else may be making a little less than you (or the same/more) working half as many hours. It's one of the main reasons that the attrition rate is high, and somewhere around 50-60% of Bay Street lawyers leave within Years 1-3 of their call to the bar. They transition into smaller/mid-sized firms, other Biglaw firms, government, in-house, etc. with a paycut but better work-life balance and roles with a more long-term future attached. 

Almost nobody makes Partner in Biglaw nowadays, and certainly very few people will make equity partner as opposed to income partner. Income partner is another name for Associate. Don't be fooled because a lot of people don't know the difference. It's bitch work really. Good starting point for your career, but there are easier ways to make money.

This is exactly the sort of response I was looking for when I started this thread. Thank you very much. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, Deadpool said:

Almost nobody makes Partner in Biglaw nowadays, and certainly very few people will make equity partner as opposed to income partner. Income partner is another name for Associate. Don't be fooled because a lot of people don't know the difference. It's bitch work really. Good starting point for your career, but there are easier ways to make money.

This seems to be false from what little I do know, and people I've spoken to actually on bay street. Do you work at a large corporate bay street firm? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, Malicious Prosecutor said:

"I wanna make as much money as I can" and "while doing the least amount of work necessary" in no way describes a Bay Street partner.

First I should point out I am NOT a Bay Street partner.  I can only describe what I could see as a junior associate at a national firm out west that did have an office on Bay Street as well.

#1 was you had to work really hard.  That meant putting in a lot of billable hours of course, but you also had to be seen to be working hard.  Just powering through 7am-5pm wasn't necessarily enough - people had to see you working late.  Minimum billable hour targets are not going to cut it here.

#2 you needed a mentor or a patron.  Not right away, or not in articling necessarily, but someone who would help you out, fight for you to get you good files, and who was going to feed you a  lot of files.

#3 you needed to eventually build a book of business.  If you could bring in clients yourself all the better.  If you could inherit a book of business from a partner retiring or being appointed that's great.  But more  typically if you're working so much on an institutional client's files that the client just starts calling you up directly, not the partner.

#4 some X factor that I have no idea about.  I was never remotely close to partnership myself

I appreciate the response. I would just like to point out what I meant when I said "I wanna make as much money as I can" and "while doing the least amount of work necessary". Im lazy, and I have anyone who has seen me work knows how hard working I am. I just don't value hard work for the sake of hard work. If I work harder there needs to be a corresponding benefit to that hard work, and that why I want to make as much money as as can while doing the least amount of work. If i can make the same income at two places, but I work longer hours at one of them, why would I choose the firm that has longer hours? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In no profession will you ever reach the top "while doing the least amount of work necessary". CEOs do not become CEOs by doing the bare minimum and just getting by. You can't minimize your input and expect to maximize the output. At any firm (law or finance), money is a reward for hard work (i.e., the value you bring)--it is literally the foundation of productivity in a capitalist society. You can continue to work your ass off and maybe make it to the top, or cheat the system and end up in jail (see Michael Cohen et al.) . 

To a previous point, sometimes putting your head down and working your ass off for less money per hour will have other benefits such as greater recognition and the availability of future (much higher pay) opportunities that you would have otherwise not had. Be careful of the detriments of the short game. 

Edited by SciLaw
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, pzabbythesecond said:

This seems to be false from what little I do know, and people I've spoken to actually on bay street. Do you work at a large corporate bay street firm? 

No, I turned away from it a while ago. But I do want to point you to maximumbob's post here (seems to generally be in line with what I've been told by my friends and mentors on Bay):

"It varies from firm to firm, but usually, if you're still at the firm, you'd be up for partnership after 6, 7, 8 years of practice (actual years of practice, so, for example, if you take a year off for maternity leave, that pushes that time line back a year).   Though that timeline has been moving back at many firms (maybe 6-10 is more realistic). Also, some firms have "non-equity" or "service" partner concepts (meaning you're technically a partner, but get a fixed draw/salary + bonus, rather than a share of the profits, and no real say in the running of the firm.

Once upon a time, law was a pretty "up-or-out" profession. If you were still kicking around the firm after 6 years, you'd clearly shown you had the chops to be partner and it would happen in the ordinary course. Of course, if you didn't show what the firm wanted to see, you'd have gotten the boot long before that.  

I think firms are starting to move away from that model. Firms are pushing back the partnership window, making increased use of "counsel" or "service partner" concepts (e.g., senior lawyers, but not equity owners of the firm) recognizing that the up or out model tends to mean losing valuable people and skills. IWhereas, once upon a time it was practically inconceivable that someone could spend, say, 20 or 30 years at a firm without being a partner, I think we're seeing a lot more of it now.  The classic example is the technically skilled lawyer who lacks the skills or inclination to build up a book of business. They might not be able to justify having an equity interest in the firm, but at the same time, you may want to keep them around because they add value - I know a few tax lawyers who fit that description. "

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, Deadpool said:

technically a partner, but get a fixed draw/salary + bonus, rather than a share of the profits, and no real say in the running of the firm.

A partner but missing the actual rights that make someone a partner. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, Deadpool said:

No, I turned away from it a while ago. But I do want to point you to maximumbob's post here (seems to generally be in line with what I've been told by my friends and mentors on Bay):

"It varies from firm to firm, but usually, if you're still at the firm, you'd be up for partnership after 6, 7, 8 years of practice (actual years of practice, so, for example, if you take a year off for maternity leave, that pushes that time line back a year).   Though that timeline has been moving back at many firms (maybe 6-10 is more realistic). Also, some firms have "non-equity" or "service" partner concepts (meaning you're technically a partner, but get a fixed draw/salary + bonus, rather than a share of the profits, and no real say in the running of the firm.

Once upon a time, law was a pretty "up-or-out" profession. If you were still kicking around the firm after 6 years, you'd clearly shown you had the chops to be partner and it would happen in the ordinary course. Of course, if you didn't show what the firm wanted to see, you'd have gotten the boot long before that.  

I think firms are starting to move away from that model. Firms are pushing back the partnership window, making increased use of "counsel" or "service partner" concepts (e.g., senior lawyers, but not equity owners of the firm) recognizing that the up or out model tends to mean losing valuable people and skills. IWhereas, once upon a time it was practically inconceivable that someone could spend, say, 20 or 30 years at a firm without being a partner, I think we're seeing a lot more of it now.  The classic example is the technically skilled lawyer who lacks the skills or inclination to build up a book of business. They might not be able to justify having an equity interest in the firm, but at the same time, you may want to keep them around because they add value - I know a few tax lawyers who fit that description. "

 

I think you misinterpreted his post. It seems that he was saying firms are wary of their attrition rates and so have created new titles to keep talent at the firms once it's the "partner or out" stage as it once was. 

He didn't mention whether partners are purposefully letting in less partners. @Uriel has spoken to this before in that Canadian firms tend to not have people make partner not because they refuse them en masse (like down south) but because most people leave for supposedly greener pastures (to them).

Edited by pzabbythesecond
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.



  • Recent Posts

    • Hi @emtee
      Yes I was and Windsor is actually a great school.
    • Hello, I was wondering what my chances would be for TRU? My cGPA is 3.55 with my last 2 years being 3.8 (20 courses) out of a 4.33 GPA. I also received my degree with distinction. I believe my personal statement and references were strong. I have worked extensively with both of my references and they informed me of what they were including in the letters. As for my experiences, I would say that I have been extensively involved in the university. I was a founder and executive member of multiple student clubs ($20,000 yearly budget per club), organized my faculty's largest event ($50,000 budget), volunteered at the university's career services, worked as a teaching assistant for my faculty, was elected by students to serve on the student union's Board (multimillion nonprofit), and was appointed on multiple university committees. Outside of the university, I worked for the entirety of my degree. My LSAT is a 150. I only wrote the test once. However, a few incidents occurred prior to my test which did not allow me to perform to the best of my ability. I do know that this is not a competitive score. I was planning on writing the test again but another personal matter has come up which will not allow me to perform to the best of my ability. I have seen from past threads, and personally know, students who have been admitted with a 152-155 LSAT with lower grades and limited experience. Do I have a chance or am I just screwed?  
    • @easttowest Do you know if there is any advantage (scrutiny-wise) between the two categories? I've applied access and am one year out from being able to apply mature as well (as I was enrolled "full-time" in grad studies while working my first few years full-time, so it delayed that 5 year out of school period). I'm not asking to try and cheat the system in any way--just trying to assess whether I have a better shot this year or next with the mature box checked off. 
    • I'm fairly certain that nothing but press statements have come out. Nothing substantive for colleges and universities to work with.  
    • They're still processing since it seems the bulk of the people Doug Ford consulted with on this are racists and alt-right members.
×