The major American law firms are characterized by applying the principle of Up or Out to the attorneys joining them. To clarify this principle, it is worth noting that lawyers in major American companies generally have two ranks, Partners and Associates. The principle of ascension or exit is applied to the assistant attorneys, as the working period of the assistant lawyer in the company extends to seven or eight years, after which the company’s partners council decides either to promote the assistant lawyer and declare that he has joined the company as a partner in the company, or he is automatically removed from the company.
I understood this principle when I met with the assistant lawyers there, and you find the person knows his name first, and after talking a little bit, he tells you that I am a first year associate lawyer or a third year assistant lawyer and so on, the difference in years means the difference in the salary and the difference in the value of the working hour that the client misses. And the difference is also in the administrative level in the work teams.
Through my contact with the assistant lawyers in the company, I found the effect of the principle of ascending or exit strongly influencing all their actions, so the law graduate as soon as he joined the company and set his sights on either he would be a partner in this company after about 8 years, or he would leave the company, and that is why you find him between the risk of leaving And hope to remain as a partner, knowing that the criteria for staying as a partner are declared and clear in a detailed and accurate manner and subject to voting by the Partners Council, which meets annually, and this is a very strong incentive for work, productivity, perseverance, training and cooperation, and even trying to bring new customers to the company by developing its marketing and social skills rather than Just legal skills.
Approximately in the fifth year, hints start from the Partners Council for Assistant Lawyers who have decided that they will not be partners that it is better for them to find a place outside the company, and already you start hearing the resignations from the fifth year or earlier, he may turn to another law firm or work in the government Or teaching at the university, or working as a general counsel in a company.
I had some problems about this principle, I kept it in myself until I found the appropriate opportunity to discuss it with the partner who works in his team, in one of the work trips, in which there are many times of talk far from the official, I talked with him about the principle of going up or leaving and about my understanding of it and its positives, The most important of which is creating an incentive for the lawyer once he joins the company to work hard, achieve and develop, as well as the existence of a precise liquidation process that lasts for several years to ensure that the best lawyers join the group of partners, but there are some problems that I did not understand.
He told me, “Please what is it?” I aforementioned once seven years of employment, work and harmony with the assistant skilled, let’s assume that he isn’t appropriate be a partner, however why don’t you retain this lawyer in the company as an assistant lawyer at the same salary and grade, without resorting to removing him from the company, and being forced To starting the wheel again, spending time and money on training and developing the lawyer, and waiting for a course that may take another seven years to reach the same level as the previous lawyer who was discharged, in other words, I understand the rise, but why the exit?
Your words answered me sound, but you overlooked in your analysis a very important aspect for us as partners and leaders in the company, I said and what is it, he said the important aspect is to ensure that there is a new generation that is competent and worthy to assume the leadership of the company in the future after the retirement of the current partners. I said, “Please clarify more.” The assistant lawyer, who reached the seventh year, said that and the partners decided not to join him in the partnership, despite his professional competence and practical production. This decision is based on his administrative incompetence or his ability to bring new clients or other reasons that make him not suitable to be part of the leadership The company, if we keep this lawyer with his high cost for the company, it will hinder us from introducing new lawyers who may be partners in the future, and therefore this department that reached us with qualified lawyers who are able to lead will stop working, and then after 20 years, for example, and some partners have retired. Or some have left, for one reason or another, the company may collapse or at least be unable to continue at the same level it was at.
The words of the partner explain to me the longevity of American as well as British law firms, (this company, for example, is 100 years old since its inception), while law firms in the Middle East, at best, end with the death of one of the partners if it does not end while they are alive.
One of the most important things that leaders of major international companies (including law firms) think about is preparing a new generation of leaders after them, even if that costs them effort, time and money, to ensure the continuity, permanence and success of their companies.