find the latest legal job
Corporate Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Highly-respected, innovative and entrepreneurial Not-for-Profit · Competency based Board
View details
Chief Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Dynamic, high growth organisation · ASX listed market leader
View details
In-house Projects Lawyer | Renewables / Solar | 2-5 Years PQE
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: All Australia
· Help design the future · NASDAQ Listed
View details
Property lawyer - Melbourne
Category: Property Law | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Impressive client list, national firm · Well-led and high-performing team
View details
Senior family lawyer - Melbourne
Category: Family Law | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Outstanding national firm · High-calibre family law team
View details
Legal Panel talk partnership

Legal Panel talk partnership

Partners from Herbert Smith Freehills and Ashurst feature in the inaugural Lawyers Weekly panel discussion video, which asked for insights on making partner.

Partners from Herbert Smith Freehills and Ashurst feature in the inaugural Lawyers Weekly panel discussion video, which asked for insights on making partner.

Partners Carolyn Pugsley from Herbert Smith Freehills and Angela Pearsall from Ashurst, along with the HR Director of DLA Piper Kate Weaver, met to discuss what it takes to reach law firm partnership. The panel discussion on Tuesday (26 March) was the first instalment of a quarterly video series entitled The Legal Panel, sponsored by Burrows Legal.

Pugsley, who was made a partner in July last year after starting as a graduate lawyer with HSF in 2003, said ‘soft skills’ were very much valued in potential partners.

 “I think that’s a surprise to lots of people who’ve traditionally had this perception that it’s all about technical skills and billable hours and that’s really what counts … that’s very much a short-term view,” she said.

Pugsley was seconded to Orica and BHP Billiton, as well as HSF’s senior management team, before becoming a partner and said that a secondment would soon be seen as a prerequisite for making partner.

“You get over the other side of the fence and all of a sudden it clicks for you; it makes sense that [the client] is dealing with all these other issues and tensions that you just can’t see,” she said.

Pearsall said that intra-firm secondments were likely to become more prevalent with the globalisation of law firms and that lawyers would be more often expected to work in different offices, both locally and abroad.

“I did a secondment to our Perth office for two years and that was an integral step for me in ultimately becoming a partner,” said Pearsall, who was also seconded to AMP earlier in her career.

Mentoring was also discussed as another integral part of supporting new partners who, the panellists agreed, need to quickly get a handle on the firm’s financial figures and management processes.

Weaver said senior lawyers on the path to partnership often have a “champion” within their practice group, as opposed to a general mentor who sits outside their team.

“They’re seen to be two quite different roles,” said Weaver, explaining how a champion usually exposes an incoming partner to the right work and clients before putting them forward for partnership.

“More men have champions that women; women seem to have lots of mentors but not enough champions to get them up to partnership.”

Only around 20 per cent of partnership positions in Australian law firms are filled by women, but Pearsall argued that improvements were being made in this area.

“We’re seeing in excess of 50 per cent of female graduates coming through our ranks [at Ashurst] and … in the last five years we’ve seen the number of internal partner candidates be more up around 30 to 40 per cent female,” she said.

To watch the full panel discussion, visit the Lawyers Weekly website on Tuesday, 2 April.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Legal Panel talk partnership
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Aug 23 2017
NT Law Society sounds alarm on mandatory sentencing
The Law Society Northern Territory has issued a warning over mandatory sentencing, saying it hasn’...
Aug 22 2017
Professionals unite in support of marriage equality
The presidents of representative bodies for solicitors, barristers and doctors in NSW have come toge...
Aug 21 2017
Is your firm on the right track for gig economy gains?
Promoted by Crowd & Co. The way we do business, where we work, how we engage with workers, ev...
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...