Quarles & Brady is an egalitarian, partner-governed organization with an elected, 12-member Executive Committee (EC) that conducts strategic and business planning, defines policy, oversees admission of attorneys into the partnership, and otherwise functions as a firmwide decision-making body. Candidates for the EC are nominated and elected by the equity partners, but all partners regularly meet to be informed of and discuss the current state of the firm, and to vote on the gamut of firm policies and actions. Our open, participatory management system gives partners significant influence over operational 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. Quarles & Brady partners have the option to work part-time or flexible hours without loss of partner status.
What are the criteria for partnership?
The criteria for election to partnership ultimately define the character of Quarles & Brady. We believe the criteria reflect some of our core values and reflect the way firm 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 Quarles & Brady, with emphasis upon demonstrated ability to manage, develop, and perform profitable legal services for new or existing clients. Candidates for partnership must satisfy our expectations for partner and demonstrate the following:
- A high degree of commitment and ability to perform major legal matters efficiently and 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 Quarles & Brady.
- Sound judgment.
- The desire and ability to contribute to the overall welfare of the firm in areas such as 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. A judgment about the candidate’s overall contribution to the firm is the ultimate criterion.
Does Quarles & Brady have more than one kind of partner?
There are three kinds of partners at Quarles & Brady: Equity Partners, Income Partners, and Contract Partners. Equity Partners elect the Executive Committee, contribute capital, vote on certain matters 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.