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5 tips to making Partner

Published on: 29 Jun 2016

For many professionals, not all it must be said, making Partner is the ultimate ambition in a legal career. But what does making partner at a law firm mean and how do you make partner at a law firm?

It’s the clear and logical reward for numerous years of studying and hard work that comes with a commitment to the legal profession. But being a partner at a law firm certainly isn’t guaranteed and only the top contenders will be able to make the cut. If you’re starting to think about applying for law firm partner jobs, here are five things you can do to improve your chances.

  1. Are you actually ready? Historically you may have been able to get away with simply getting on well with the other partners, being a good golfer or having access to a nice private club, but times have changed and modern legal professionals need to be able to show they’re worth what they say they’re worth. If you can’t show hard evidence of times you’ve brought money in for the firm, then you might not be ready for the step up. 
  2. Make a plan. And because times have changed, a partnership position isn’t just going to fall into your lap because you’ve managed to avoid being fired. Consider and implement a proper strategy – a series of steps that are aligned to your specific firm – that will help bring you into the inner circle by a certain deadline. 
  3. Are you in the right place? This is probably one of the first questions to ask yourself as, after all, if you’re in the wrong firm you’re hardly likely to succeed. You should also consider that working for a firm, and essentially being a shareholder in one are two very different things. This is a major commitment both financially and personally so really ask yourself if this is the place you want to be. Do you have complete faith in the direction the firm is taking and its ability to gain and retain clients? Will you get along with the other partners? More importantly, do you believe they have the skill and commercial acumen to sustain and improve the practice? It’s much better to ask yourself these questions before committing and finding yourself at the partnership table
  4. Get business. It goes without saying that you have to be a highly competent lawyer to even consider making the cut at partner, but you’re also going to be judged on your business development capabilities as well as your technical expertise. A detailed knowledge of Rylands vs Fletcher or Donoghue vs Stevenson is unlikely to get you there and even if it did you wouldn’t remain there very long unless you could bring in new business.
  5. Play the game. Partnerships are a highly political environment so you need to play the game, whether you like it or not. Network, support your colleagues, socialise and fit in. Remember you’re not just being judged on your ability as a lawyer, but also whether you’re the type on individual that others will want to work with, potentially for a number of years. 

View the latest law firm Partner jobs and vacancies advertised by Clayton Legal here.