^^^ No matter how you cut it though, being a life-long associate sounds like a pretty bleak proposition. true, but I know several lawyers that are perfectly content with their balance of level of work, pay scale, and time for other interests (be they kids, vacations or trolling internet fora ). They know they will never be the rainmaker, but they are plenty happy putting in the hours, doing interesting work, and having enough time to pursue the 'rest' of their lives. Neither good nor bad, but not everyone is in pursuit of the huge paycheck and the senior partner status. I see myself somewhere in the middle, I prefer a good balance of home life, but want to do the best I can and end up in a satisfying position in my professional life. My wife is an architect, and I am (going to be) a lawyer so we are in two professions with some of the highest divorce rates. My #1 goal is making sure I don't add to that statistic -- for better or worse, my career will suffer if it means being true to my wife/relationship.