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Eighty Is Enough: Anonymous Partner’s Farewell

This is my eightieth column as Anonymous Partner, and the last one that will appear weekly on these pages. I may, on occasion, comment on important pieces that Lat does regarding Biglaw. Based on the things I saw and heard over the last two years, whether at my firm or through people sharing information with me through this column, there will be no lack of Biglaw-related developments to comment on.

So much of the truth about what is going in Biglaw remains hidden, partly by the design of firm management teams and partly by the tendency of those who work in Biglaw to keep quiet. Above the Law adds some transparency, but there’s only so much that it can do. I consider myself fortunate to have had the opportunity to give my take on what being a Biglaw partner means today. I wish I had company, as an industry in change really needs all of those with a stake in its future to speak up….

Of course, being able to maintain my anonymity while writing this column was critical. Most importantly, I believe it forced me to detach myself whenever possible from my own Biglaw experiences, and really try to describe Biglaw as it is, rather than simply how it has treated me. And because we work in a profession with an obscene focus on credentials and prestige, I think it was a positive that readers of this column were forced to evaluate it based on its content and not the usual Biglaw evaluation metrics that include, but are not limited to, the author’s educational history, equity status, law firm ranking, law school ranking, LSAT score, lawyerly lair, book of business, and preferred suit brand. The favorite feedback I have received on this column was that it “told it like it is,” and while I’m happy to consider myself a courageous fellow for doing this in the first place, the anonymity was a big help in allowing me to speak candidly.

I think I have covered a lot of ground in the seventy-nine prior columns. I will miss the process of writing them, many times doing so at the office on a Monday afternoon. A fair number were written on planes, including my “Pre-Law Tour” column, which in my opinion is probably the most valuable piece I have written. I wish I had taken the tour before law school. I particularly enjoyed the varied interviews I got to do with a wide cross-section of people who depend on Biglaw’s survival in some way. Thanks to them for their courage, initiative, and willingness to share their experiences with others.

I would like to thank the ATL editors, especially Lat, for their guidance and vision in seeing the potential value of this column. I would also like to thank the commenters, my “parters-in-crime” [sic] who have truly contributed to this column in many ways. Finally, I would like to thank my family, especially my wife, for putting up with my taking on yet more work, and supporting me regardless. (I should also thank my mom, even though she does not know I write this column; that’s how seriously I took the anonymity.)

In conclusion, I would like to end by saying that even though there is a lot of nastiness in Biglaw right now, including such ugliness as equity partner cuts targeting productive younger partners before unproductive older ones (though their time is quickly coming), there is also a lot of good. We all need to simply do our best, and try not to let greed, or more likely fear, cause us to do or support things that we know are wrong. At the same time, we must always strive to uphold the noblest aspects of our profession and never forget that it is one of service. I hope this column made a contribution to that end.

If you have any thoughts you’d like to share with me about my column, feel free to email me or write in the comments section below. And if you’re a current partner at a Biglaw firm (think Am Law 200 or NLJ 250) who might be interested in writing for Above the Law, whether anonymously or not, feel free to pitch the editors by email (subject line: “Biglaw Partner Column”).

Thanks again to everyone for reading, commenting on, and engaging with my writing. I wish you all the best in 2014.

Anonymous Partner is a partner at a major law firm. You can reach him by email at

(hidden for your protection)

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