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How to secure a partnership

Posted by: Laurence Simons 08/10/15

Unsurprisingly, not everyone makes partner. It is rarely a case of number of years served in a law firm which influences these decisions, but ambition, personal skills and successes. So when it comes to your professional development, it really is all down to you.

Well…and us, because we’re here to give you some handy advice to inspire you to take the next step. Becoming a partner is much more than just a promotion – because you are now responsible for the firm’s success. Speaking with current partners is a tried and tested way to delve into what exactly is expected, what differences there are from your current role, and a bigger picture of the path to partnership.

It’s important to consider which firm would be the correct place for you to move to the next level within. As an ambassador, the decisions made by the practice will be upheld by all – even if sometimes you disagree. But if this is a worry, are you sure you are in the right firm for you? Recognise your own values before you take the plunge; if they are in line with the organisation’s, your job will be a lot easier.

Partners are responsible for bringing in work, co-ordinating activities and binding people together. This involves a high level of skill and ability to delegate, as well as performing and reaching targets under pressure. Making sure that you have a large client base is crucial in managing these demands, as well as proven experience of understanding expectations and reliably advising those you are working with.

Finally, finding a mentor is an excellent way to navigate the partnership referral process. Someone who will support your candidacy and help to make your transition smooth will be invaluable to you. However, it is worth remembering that all your fellow partners will have to trust and believe in you, so your internal business relationships with them must be a priority if you are to be selected over others. Engaging with a list of contacts in all specialisms, hosting events, demonstrating a keenness to learn and consulting with acquaintances at other firms will all show that you are engaged within your sector and will leave a good impression.