Making partner is the ultimate goal - and the greatest nightmare for every aspiring lawyer. You're steeped in educational debt, working your butt off, and hoping for the best while knowing that luck (both good and bad) at messing with your fate. As a rainmaker, you want to stay but know that many factors must fall into place in order for you to make partner. You may be on the fence; you're on partner track but you really can't guess which way things are going for you. Or you're a woman (which apparently can hold you back from making partner if you read the news) and have to worry about making partner as your opportunities are still not equal to the men's in your class. Any strategic move you make feels like it could be a deal with the devil. Changing law firms may be your ultimate decision.
A change in law firms may actually be a wise move as you work toward a partnership position. Your reputation may be able to help you bring business to your new firm but you need to take care to tend to the dual fiduciary duty you hold. As an attorney in a law firm, you bear fiduciary responsibility to your law firm as well as to your clients. Taking liberties with client data, proprietary information, or client loyalty can be seen as illegal activity as well as a breach of ethics. Activities such as recruiting other firm employees before you leave or lying to your firm regarding your impending flight are also on the list of things not to do. Refer to your contract with your firm, review the ABA Model Rules, and remember that clients belong to neither you (even if you found them) nor the firm as you make your plans for a brighter future. And leave the devil in the details.