Legal Business

Here we must run, just to stay in place – what it takes to be a law firm partner in 2016

Macfarlanes’ Charles Martin reflects on the paradoxes facing the modern partner

I confess the analogy is not perfect, but reflecting on the bizarre and often contradictory pressures on partners in law firms today brings to mind the world of Alice in Wonderland. Today, many question the appropriateness of the partnership model itself. They certainly question the strange, often opaque feudal master/servant process by which the aspiring lawyer serves their apprenticeship. They then work (following the white rabbit down the hole past many locked doors) until they leave all caution behind and take the option of partnership – a bit like Alice eating the cake with ‘EAT ME’ written on it. Readers of the story will know that the result is Alice growing to such a tremendous size that her head hits the ceiling! The analogy is maybe not so imperfect after all.