We see many variables come into this: 

- economic and political cycles;

- are you in an all equity model (the bar is higher) or is there the stepping stone of        becoming a fixed share/salaried partner;

- has there been a recent  promotion in your group;

- are existing partners performing;

- has a lateral appeared above your head without the promised £2m book;

- is the office/firm performing;

- has your mentor fallen out of favour;

- is it Germany's turn to promote turn this time around....

...you can be great but you're a year behind someone equally great, they got made up and there's no gap for you.. all that studying, all those hours and the timing just didn't work..

..or maybe things go in your favour and

- the team is swamped with work;

- partners have left and there's client demand;

- or too many partners have left..maybe then the boot could move onto the other foot and management is suddenly keen to make up/bring in partners to fill gaps or get that capital injection to shore up the reserves..

....but is it then the right firm for you...

In my experience the absolute superstar lawyers get there but being a very decent city lawyer isn't always enough these days..it usually comes down to business case - what do you add: work/clients, skills and are you busy; is there a succession issue; are you in a strategic/growth area for the firm/in the market and are the margins high enough...

and that's just making partner.. once you are finally there, is it all you ever wanted... if you decide to move on you might need Richard Branson's entrepreneurial flair and that massive legal brain... a rare combination!.

It's not always easy but it's very rewarding when you get there...