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Difference between partner and special counsel

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In the past few decades the number of women entering graduate and professional schools has been going up and up, while the number of women reaching the top rung of the corporate and academic worlds has remained relatively stagnant. Why are so many women falling off the fast track? In this timely book, Mary Ann Mason traces the career paths of the first generation of ambitious women who started careers in academia, law, medicine, business, and the media in large numbers in the s and '80s. Many women who had started families but continued working had ended up veering off the path to upper management at a point she calls "the second glass ceiling. Men who did likewise--entered the career world with high aspirations and then started families while working--not only did not show the same trend, they reached even higher levels of professional success than men who had no families at all.

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Senior Lawyers

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Addressing these issues is unlikely to get easier with volume. Moreover, the hard-driving work ethic which characterizes the baby boomer generation and helped foster the plus billable hour standard in many firms, makes it less likely that the legion of lawyers in our generation will go quietly into the night.

This article is a compilation of lessons learned by Altman Weil in planning and structuring of counsel and senior counsel programs, including some thoughts on effective compensation approaches. It is based on real-world consulting experience with numerous law firms, and is intended to provide a practical introduction to concepts and approaches proven to work well, rather than attempting to cover the complete spectrum of possible senior partner, senior counsel or of counsel programs.

Sometimes of counsel is used to refer to a senior lawyer who has passed from full partnership or shareholder status, but may remain affiliated with the firm, in active, semi-retired or mostly-retired status. Of counsel is also applied to significant numbers of less senior lawyers. Increasingly, Altman Weil consultants are seeing relatively young lawyers choosing to move from partner status to of counsel or non-equity partner status.

These lawyers may want to be relieved of the financial obligations of partnership, or the time commitment of full partnership. With the increasing number of two-career households, the graying of America and its lawyers, it is logical that more people would affirmatively seek to ratchet down the pressure. While the firm is the moving party in this situation, it also may reflect some mutuality of choice in those instances where the individual lawyer has chosen to allocate less time to his or her career.

Senior counsel is generally viewed favorably by the firm and its senior lawyers, since it connotes a person or group that has served the firm and is continuing to function in a valuable role. Even in small firms, we recommend developing a senior counsel program rather than dealing with individual situations on an ad hoc basis.

Without a program in place, it can appear that an individual is being singled out because of age or energy level. These are unpleasant and often inaccurate images. Moreover, advance planning is critical for clients, for the firm and for the individuals. Failure to plan can risk client relationships, and firm and individual economics, as well as the long-held relationships between senior partners and the firm.

In promulgating a senior counsel program, there needs to be an expectation that, while the process is consistent, the specifics will likely be tailored to the individual. Some partners phasing down or phasing out from full-partner status want to remain more or less fully active, at least for a while. Others want to scale back considerably, or may have already, especially if the senior counsel program is new.

Even with flexibility for individual situations and goals, developing a senior counsel program can help establish meaningful roles for those individuals phasing down from full-partner status. As such, a structure contemplating hours in one year, followed by zero hours the next, is likely to be unduly limiting both to the firm and to the individuals.

It may involve different variations within the two frameworks of partner and senior counsel status. These may include retention of partner status at reduced compensation, or moving to senior counsel status while retaining specified levels of practice independence and activities.

This process should be updated annually. If the law firm already has an annual individual goal-setting format in place, this Senior Partner planning session may simply be part of that. Initially, it can be expected that many of the senior partners meeting with the management committee will remain full partners for several or more years and be part of the existing compensation system. Even if someone announces they want to begin phasing down, they may still be performing at a partner level for one or more years.

At this point, if the individual and firm both want the relationship to continue on some basis, the senior partner may go to senior counsel status. In some firms, other partners who are below this threshold for 2 or 3 years might become part-time or non-equity partners, again assuming the firm and individual want to continue the relationship. When it is time for an individual to change from partner to senior counsel status, the plan can be designed to cover a multi-year period, but should be subject to annual review and renewal, with the firm having the ultimate decision-making authority.

This will help maintain and encourage annual planning. In addition, this approach will also help identify and institute phased modifications that may become necessary, such as limits on opening new files or going to court. This approach can help prevent the tragedy of a career ending under the cloud of a malpractice allegation.

Ideally, there should be two themes within the plan: the expected transition plan, and a contingency plan in case the senior partner is hit by the proverbial bus and can no longer serve his or her clients.

Client transition planning should cover not only substantive legal work, but particular client histories, client preferences, and what particular clients want from their lawyer s as well. The billing and financial interface with the client should also be reviewed, to prevent any sudden changes in how, how often and how much clients may be billed.

For example, if a senior lawyer has provided certain services without billing, or has been lax about billing, and the new lawyer diligently bills the client for the same services, the client could be shocked by what is otherwise entirely appropriate billing. In these situations, objective compensation determinations are best tied to:.

Register Now. Already have an account? Sign In. With the new year upon us, law firms have just been through the typical year-end crush of collections, budgeting, compensation decisions and more. The authors recently took a look at 's hottest trends, and explored what we could expect from them in To Train or Not to Train? That Is the Question.

Before starting a training program, conduct a needs assessment when performance is inappropriate or inadequate. This means when one or more attorneys or staff are not doing what they should be doing, or they are doing something they should not be doing.

Here's how to proceed. Although the current news cycle is a barrage of negative situations, the silver lining is that they offer law firms a wealth of teachable moments about the importance of preparing for and responding to a crisis situation. A Different Perspective Here are five ideas that lawyers can learn from the military.

They just might work for you and your firm. All Rights Reserved. Publications Publications Law. Follow Us. Sign In Register Law. Site Search. Senior Counsel Programs, or, Older is Looking Younger To Me All the Time As the wave of baby boomers that swept into the legal profession in the early s and '80s approach middle age and retirement, the managers, colleagues… November Facebook Twitter LinkedIn. Thank you for sharing! Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.

Add a Program Instead of Acting on an Ad Hoc Basis Even in small firms, we recommend developing a senior counsel program rather than dealing with individual situations on an ad hoc basis. Related Stories.

Average Special Counsel Salary in Australia

A special counsel is a lawyer who is brought in to assist a state or federal jurisdiction during a specific case, when that institution feels that it is in the public interest. This traditionally occurs when the prosecutor or attorney general feels that there is the potential for the public to feel that a conflict of interest may exist. Another reason to enlist a special counsel is in situations regarding extremely technical details, and the lawyer possesses expertise that may be of use. For You.

Not really knowing the actual meaning of the term, I had an idea it identified some association with a law firm. Was that okay? Is there an actual, understandable definition of this term, of this status?

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Senior Counsel Programs, or, Older is Looking Younger To Me All the Time

Associates work there and are paid as employees. What to do? Being of counsel, rather than a partner, is also an option for attorneys who prefer a more predictable, less time-intensive schedule. For many, the tradeoff of a substantially lower but still high by any reasonable measure salary for lower hours is a good one. People in this category could include attorneys returning to the firm after a stint in government, older attorneys interested in gradually downsizing their practice, and parents returning to the workplace who want a better work-life balance than being a law firm partner typically affords. There are potentially several downsides to being of counsel rather than a partner. The most obvious is reduced pay. Attorneys who are of counsel will typically make a high associate salary, as opposed to the much higher average profits-per-partner. Junior partners typically make much less than the average, but the upside potential of being a partner over time is much higher than being a salaried of-counsel. The Balance Careers uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience.

Of counsel

No eBook available Amazon. These two dictionaries, although similar in subject matter, differ markedly. To begin with, Thomsett's paperback is simply a reprint of his hardcover, Investment and Securities Dictionary LJ Read full review.

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For the long-term. So, bring us your questions. Because we approach every engagement on a case-by-case basis.

Special counsel not a promised road to partnership

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The role of special counsel is evolving with many firms promoting senior associates to the role as a stepping stone to partnership, but the ultimate promotion to the top is not guaranteed. Most firms said that while special counsel prepared staff for partnership, the role was not assured. Most firms said that while special counsel prepared staff for partnership, it was not assurance to the role. Other firms take a different approach, and see it more as a role for someone who wants to specialise but not necessarily take the next step. At the firm, it is more geared towards the first option," he said.

Of counsel is the title of an attorney in the legal profession of the United States who often has a relationship with a law firm or an organization but is neither an associate nor partner. Some firms use titles such as "counsel", "special counsel", and "senior counsel" for the same concept. According to American Bar Association Formal Opinion , the term "of counsel" is used to describe a "close, personal, continuous, and regular relationship" between the firm and counsel lawyer. Formal Opinion of the American Bar Association provides four acceptable definitions of the term: [3]. The title may be used in a number of situations, including: [2].

Mar 10, - The average salary for a Special Counsel in Australia is AU$ Visit PayScale to research special counsel salaries by city, experience, Find your market worth with a report tailored to you Pay Difference by Location.

Addressing these issues is unlikely to get easier with volume. Moreover, the hard-driving work ethic which characterizes the baby boomer generation and helped foster the plus billable hour standard in many firms, makes it less likely that the legion of lawyers in our generation will go quietly into the night. This article is a compilation of lessons learned by Altman Weil in planning and structuring of counsel and senior counsel programs, including some thoughts on effective compensation approaches. It is based on real-world consulting experience with numerous law firms, and is intended to provide a practical introduction to concepts and approaches proven to work well, rather than attempting to cover the complete spectrum of possible senior partner, senior counsel or of counsel programs. Sometimes of counsel is used to refer to a senior lawyer who has passed from full partnership or shareholder status, but may remain affiliated with the firm, in active, semi-retired or mostly-retired status.

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