Law Firm Management

Aren’t Non-Equity Partners Really Just Glorified Associates?

With a nod to the danger of generalizing, I would have to say that as a group, I like non-equity partners (“NEPs”) just as much, if not better, than I like equity partners. They are often people who are primarily interested in practicing law and doing well by their clients, as opposed to promoting themselves and reaching the top of the earnings heap.

On the other hand, I don’t think much of the whole concept of non-equity partnership.

Murray The Wannabe Feminist

Men Talking About Moms at the Partnership Table

Those of you who do not attend partners meetings may not know that a common agenda item is why the associates are not working hard enough.

And those of you who follow the statistics are aware that only 25% of partners in Canadian law firms are female. This means that the problem is primarily defined by men, who identify the mothers of young children as part of the problem.  Which indeed they are since they often undertake a disproportionate share of the childcare responsibilities and have less time to bill hours.

Law Students and Young Lawyers

Talking to Partners about Problems

Since I retired, I do not speak to law firm partners very often, which is just fine with me. For one thing, I cannot afford to speak to them about professional matters. For another, I have had quite my fill of speaking to partners about topics that they know precious little about, such as how to run a law firm profitably while maintaining a positive and welcoming culture.

Law Students and Young Lawyers

Reporting to the Lawyer From Hell

So imagine that you are a newbie lawyer working for a firm.  When looking for your first job, nobody told you that the most important consideration was to work for a competent person of good character, so you chose your job based on other factors which seemed important at the time, like prestige or money. 


Murray’s Rant About Partners Meetings

I hated partners meetings. Not because I did not like most of my partners. In fact, I quite enjoyed spending time with the majority of them. But there were always one or two…

After many years of contemplating why I disliked partners meetings so much, I developed a theory. Here it is.

People I Met Practicing Law

People I Met Practicing Law Episode One: Tough Love

They say that the Americans are tougher than we are when it comes to business.  I think that it is probably true. 

I met John in the early 90’s, shortly after he had arrived in Toronto to set up a Canadian branch of his large Buffalo law firm.  John was a very senior lawyer by then and he was the managing partner of the Toronto branch office of his firm, and in charge of the firm’s cross-border practice. 

Firm Culture

Of Sisyphus and Speakerphones

When I started out in the legal profession many years ago, becoming a Partner at a law firm was the dream of every new lawyer.  At the firm where I articled in 1979, each new Partner received two gifts from the firm upon being admitted to partnership.  The first was a gold sculpture of Sisyphus, pushing the boulder up the hill.  The second was a speakerphone, which at the time was new and exciting technology. 

The Mentality and Attitudes of Lawyers Uncategorized

Scrambling for the Largest Piece of Pie

Law firms being partnerships, someone must decide how to split the pie at the end of the year, and except in some small firms, the pie is rarely split evenly. The task of deciding how large a slice of the profits should be given to each partner in medium and large firms usually falls to the compensation committee. One might think that the compensation committee would consist of human resources professionals with specialized knowledge in evaluating job performance, and perhaps that is the case in some firms, but in many firms the primary qualification for membership on the compensation committee is a large client base and big billings.