This article begins a systematic conceptualization and measurement of partner careers in professional service firms. Taking a relational approach, we identify two strategies for investing in social networks - inheritance and rainmaking strategies - that help build partner careers by generating client revenue. We study how investments in these networking strategies lead to the differences in partners' client revenues. Using client billings and personnel records from a large law firm, we conduct fixed effects regressions on partners' intrafirm relationships and client revenues. We find that both inheritance and rainmaking are associated with more client revenues in subsequent periods. In addition, we find important gender and racial differences in the effectiveness of these strategies. Although the inheritance strategy has positive effects for male and non-minority partners, it has negative effects for female and minority partners. Conversely, the rainmaking strategy is more effective for female partners than for male partners. In this way, the findings contribute not only to our understanding of professional service firms and partner careers but also to research on diversity and inequality mechanisms.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Business and International Management
- Strategy and Management
- Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management