Nonequity Partner Ranks Still Swelling

May 7, 2015 – In The News
New Jersey Law Journal

Mark Silow was quoted in the New Jersey Law Journal article, “Nonequity Partner Ranks Still Swelling.” Full text can be found in the May 7, 2015, issue, but a synopsis is below.

After a consistent growth in numbers, nonequity partners now make up around half of all partners in top New Jersey law firms and branches.

At Fox Rothschild’s Roseland, Lawrenceville, Atlantic City and Morristown offices, the amount of nonequity partners is at a relatively low 27.9 percent compared to the firmwide nonequity partnership ratio of 69.2 percent.

According to Fox’s firmwide managing partner, Mark Silow, the New Jersey offices were added earlier on when the nonequity tier was used less. He said that the, “biggest change for us over the past few years has actually been making fewer equity partners.”

“What we like to say is, everyone who has the title of partner ... is performing at a partner level when it comes to the substantive practice of law,” Silow added. “The difference is the economic profile of the individual.”

Silow also said that the biggest generators of business, which include gaining new clients and getting more business from past clients, are “usually a function of time as much as anything.”

Partners typically spend at least two to three years in the nonequity tier. Partners are often in the nonequity tier for about three to five years, while some never reach the equity tier, Silow said. Notably, Fox considers adding equity partners annually.

“We don’t want any one-hit wonders. We want to see consistent performance on the nonequity side,” Silow commented.

“Twenty-five years ago, it was a totally binary system. I think law firms have adapted to the marketplace,” he continued. “I do see this continuing—I think there will be more classifications and differences.”