Appointment to the partnership includes the skills to foster great client relationships and create profit, but relying on peers to generate work can put a stop to promotion aspirations, writes Julia Puntoriero
Once upon a time lawyers had to choose their firm very wisely. They knew their particular firm would be where they became a partner and eventually retired 30 or so years later. As we all know, this is no longer the case and, luckily, these are no longer these expectations when you do gain your first practising role!
Becoming a partner depends on so many factors, but when stripped to its bare bones it is all about your client relationships and how they affect the profitability of the firm.
Some senior associates and partners (salaried and equity) make the mistake of relying on their peers to generate the work. Then, once they assess their personal relationships, they come to realise that they have little to no clients of their own, shutting the door on their ability to gain/maintain partnership within their own firm and or obtain partnership elsewhere.
The best way to prevent this happening is to be proactive in business development within your own firm, nurture your clients, network, give seminars on your knowledge and generally do a great job which in turn generates referrals and repeat business.
When meeting with a potential new firm, first identify your good client relationships and then think about the clients/networks you intend using to generate more work. Also, finding out what the marketing strategies and budget allowances are for business development and looking at clients to whom you can cross-sell your skill set with and generate more work will also be effective.
This will not only benefit you in your own firm, but also put you in good stead if you wish to practise as a partner elsewhere. Therefore, if you feel that you are not the right fit in your current firm and, despite this, you have done all of these things, rest assured other opportunities will be endless.
Julia Puntoriero is a consultant at EJ Legal.