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Why Partners Move. “Why” is just as important as “Where.”

As we speak with experienced partners regarding the idea of making a move, we find that there are a number of factors they would like to improve regarding their current firm status. But surprisingly, rarely is compensation the leading cause. Once provided with the opportunity to take a deeper dive into their objectives for considering making a switch, we learn that they often include some of the following, but vary in order of their priorities, depending on the individual:

  • Client Conflicts

  • Personality Conflicts

  • Lack of Autonomy

  • Compensation

  • Firm Budget

  • Leadership

  • Reputation

  • Firm Marketing

  • Billing Rates

  • Office Location

But there is one issue that is, by far, a greater concern to the majority of the partners we counsel and is often overlooked by even the partners themselves. We understand that one size doesn’t fit all, and neither does one firm, so it’s important to take the time to invest in the person considering a move to make sure they are doing so for the right reasons. Making a move isn’t for the faint of heart; it takes courage and even with the best transition plan, it can be challenging if not adequately prepared.

A few years ago, I recall having coffee with a person I greatly respect. This particular conversation, like most, was friendly and flowed easily. I always made a point to ask this friend for advice before making an important business decision. My friend had managed to build one of the largest transportation enterprises in North America, so I trusted his business acumen as much as I valued his moral compass. On this particular occasion, my friend shared this piece of advice: “Keep in mind that when you do make your decision, recognize that you’re not making it alone.” I was puzzled and asked for an explanation. He replied, “Whenever you make a life decision, there are usually loved ones along for the ride. So keep in mind that your decisions not only affect you, but also those loved ones who may be riding along in your back seat.” I believe that this wisdom is still sage advice today.

The right advocate will walk the partner candidate through the process to find out whether they are making the right decision when considering a move. It doesn’t have to be painful, but on the contrary, can be rewarding and energizing; in fact, many of the partners we meet with come to a conclusion that surprises even themselves.

Contact JAG & Associates to learn more about our team and how we can act as an advocate for your firm. Or for a confidential discussion regarding your practice, including questions regarding your career path, email us at

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