The announcement a few months back by Mayer Brown that it was demoting or releasing 10% (or 45) of its partners received a fair amount of press. I even blogged about it here back in March. I’m beginning to think, due to the sheer numbers, that there is something in the water in Chicago.
As I mentioned on Monday, my laptop is having "issues; in fact, it had an adverse reaction to water itself (sorry, but the details will not be forthcoming), and I lost everything. That’s why I have been looking at my archives. Lo and behold, I ran across a post I called “Rainmakers Don’t Get Fired” which I did in January 2005. It discussed the EEOC’s filing of an age discrimination suit against Sidley Austin on behalf of 31 former partners. In February of 2006, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals held that the EEOC could seek monetary damages against the firm. The case is apparently ongoing, unless I’ve missed something.
The point of both of my posts, however, relates to business development. Partners (or associates for that matter) DO NOT get fired or demoted for developing business. It is the failure to bring in the bacon that is the major reason senior attorneys find themselves in such a predicament. Their rates are too high to be attractive to rainmakers, who can get younger, bright lawyers to do their work at much lower rates.
So, the lesson is simple. Make rain or you too may end up hanging out to dry.