If you have been passed over for partnership then, depending on the reasons why, one option is to look at other firms.
The legal landscape is experiencing unprecedented movement among partners due to the introduction of global firms into Australia, and the notion of staying where you are to climb the partnership ladder is becoming somewhat obsolete.
Areas in demand right now are energy and resources; insurance; insolvency and restructuring, and employment. Firms are keen to hear about senior level lawyers working in areas they wish to bolster numbers in or areas they are keen to add to due to the absence of a particular area of speciality, but be prepared to go through a rigorous and drawn out process as there needs to be a strong business case to bring in a senior lawyer and firms are ensuring that they have the resources and the continuing business before making decisions.
A transportable client base will always be a strong negotiating point in your favour or, in the absence of this, expertise and a solid reputation in a highly-reputed firm will certainly add to your application. Keeping up to date with the market and utilising your knowledge of partner movements are strategies you will need to employ. You will also need to have realistic expectations regarding how quickly you can be made a partner, as you may need to prove your abilities over a period of time. The alternative is to stay where you are as you never know when the next partner may leave, paving the way for you to move into a partnership role.