While dictatorship might have its benefits, Q&B functions as a democracy, with a 12-member Executive Committee (EC) nominated and elected directly by the equity partners on a one-partner, one-vote basis. At least two members of the EC must come from the younger half of the partnership. We have regular partner meetings and all important decisions are made by vote—after opportunity for discussion and debate (lots of it!). (Note that whether peanut or plain m&ms® are stocked in the vending machines is not a vote-worthy decision.) Our management model is significantly different from most large firms and their autocratic form of governance. Our open, participatory management system gives partners more influence over operational and directional issues, from compensation to policies affecting our work life and our business.
Generally, associates are considered for partnership eight years after graduating from law school. However, the partnership track may vary depending on individual circumstances, particularly for associates who join us after working somewhere else. In those cases, the year of first consideration for partnership is determined on a case-by-case basis at the same time as the offer of employment (and may be reevaluated based on subsequent experience). Extended leaves of absence, or time on a flexible work schedule, may also affect the timing of partnership consideration.
What are the criteria for partnership?
The criteria for election to partnership ultimately define the character of Quarles & Brady LLP. We believe the criteria reflect some of our core values and reflect the way Q&B attorneys work. We have great respect for our clients and give them excellent service, while maintaining a high degree of respect for our fellow attorneys, staff and the communities in which we work. Our partners are lawyers who have demonstrated both the capacity and the commitment to make a strong long term contribution to the welfare of Q&B, with emphasis upon demonstrated ability to manage, develop and perform profitable legal services for new or existing clients. Candidates for partnership must perform 100 one-armed push-ups in 30 seconds, or alternatively, satisfy our expectations for partner and demonstrate the following:
- A high degree of commitment and ability to perform major legal matters efficiently, competently, with minimal supervision and to the satisfaction of clients.
- The ability to attract new clients.
- The ability to maintain current clients.
- The ability to develop new business from existing clients.
- Compatibility with the members and employees of Q&B.
- Sound judgment.
- The desire and ability to contribute to the overall welfare of Q&B in areas such as firm management and civic or bar activities.
We understand that not every candidate will excel in each of the specified areas. Outstanding strength in one area may outweigh less strength in another area. A judgment about the candidate’s overall contribution to the Firm is the ultimate criterion.
Does Q&B have more than one kind of partner?
There are three kinds of partners at Quarles & Brady: Fantastic, Brilliant, and Even Better. Actually, there are Equity Partners, Income Partners and Contract Partners. Equity Partners elect the Executive Committee, contribute capital, vote on certain matters which are decided by the Partnership (such as election of new partners) and are compensated based on a percentage of firm profits. There are minimum production expectations for equity partners too. Income Partners attend most partner meetings and receive the Firm’s financial information, but do not vote on most matters. Many associates become Income Partners before becoming Equity Partners, although that is not a required step. Contract Partnership is used for lateral attorneys who join us as partners, rather than associates.