The Business of Healthcare

I Can’t Wait to Become a Partner

October 24, 2022

“I want to become a partner.”

Lawyers hear this all the time from newer members of their firm. Doctors, too, hear it from junior members of their medical group.

Partnership is, it appears, the Holy Grail that, once grasped, results in eternal professional success. Maybe.

But what does partnership really mean?

People focus on the upside, or, actually, the imagined upside. More money. Well, maybe. More status. Well, perhaps.

They rarely stop to wonder what that upside might actually be. Instead, it’s an amorphously imagined more money and more status. Maybe that’s right, but maybe it’s not.

But they rarely, if ever, focus on the downside: the liability and the responsibility that comes with ownership. More risk? What?!?

I once a partner in a firm whose senior partner told me that it would be cheaper to make Bob, not his real name, a partner because we could then pay him less.

That comment triggers at least two thoughts: First, there may be tremendous problems in a professional practice if it cannot distribute a greater reward to its owners than to its employees. And second, “partnership” in some instances might be some type of, well, scam.

Be careful about what you wish. Check out exactly what you’re getting into. Take off those rose colored glasses.

Those holding the keys to your “success” might be all too willing to hand them over to you.

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