A: Preparation should start as soon as you have made the decision to take this path in your career - the sooner the better!
Networking and building your practice are the essential ingredients to give you the best chance of success later on. As a lawyer you will have already started networking whilst studying, joining junior lawyer groups and attending seminars and training programmes.
You will need to make sure you have a presence in the market, which means plenty of networking and, to a point, self promotion. The best marketing tool is word of mouth, so attending, speaking at or making a presentation at events, conferences or seminars is essential, as you will be rubbing shoulders with potential clients and contacts.
Writing articles for magazines, newspapers, blogs and websites, or involving yourself in online discussion boards and joining LinkedIn and other networking sites are also useful tools.
Firms look at potential partners with, amongst other things, intelligence, solid client relationships, a good business sense and stability. At many firms it is a prerequisite to have a following of value before they will consider you to join their partnership ranks.
Creating a comprehensive business plan early in your career is a good place to start. Define your goals and plan your strategies. Establish who your clients are, how you are going to retain and maintain those relationships, who your potential clients are and how will you target them to build up your client base. Developing and implementing a sound business plan will help you realise your career goals.