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It’s more complicated than that. A 3:1 associate-to-partner ratio is pretty low; many firms have substantially more associates-per-partner. I stated it as a minimum (“at least”), not a baseline rule.
Further, the overwhelming majority of law firms nowadays have two-tier partnerships: there are “salaried partners,” for whom becoming a partner mostly means a pay bump, a handshake, a move to a nicer office, and some new business cards, and there are “equity partners,” who are entitled to a share of the net profits of the firm. The latter are much fewer in number than the former, and generally make significantly more. On top of all that, big firms range widely in their profits-per-partner (which has become the dominant metric for measuring the economic “success” of a law firms. It has problems, but that’s another story.).
And in DC, which is the focus of this little comment train, many of these partners don’t even live in the District. They live in cushy suburbs like Fairfax, VA, and Potomac, MD, so they can’t (or shouldn’t) feature into the data here.
All that being said, I don’t doubt that some substantial portion of DC’s 1% are biglaw partners earning upwards of $1M a year. My point was that it’s not lawyers *in general* making up that number. The lawyers that are in that group are a very, very tiny sliver of all the lawyers in DC, which are in turn only a small sliver of all the residents of the District.
Who else might be making up that number? Executives at government contractors would be a good place to look. Those companies make ridiculous money.