Charlotte attorney Gene Pridgen graduated from law school in 1978 with a clear-cut career path in front of him. He'd clerked for the large firm of Kennedy Covington - now K&L Gates - the previous summer and received a subsequent offer for a position as an associate. Five years later, he made partner. Pridgen called his longevity at the firm typical for lawyers of his generation. But times have changed. New lawyers who aspire to ascend the ranks at large firms may not follow the straight-arrow path to partnership that attorneys once did, opting instead for lateral moves or taking experimental detours into government or in-house work.
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