Preparing for Partnership
A Guide to Achieving Partnership in a Law Firm
Preparing for Partnership is an invaluable resource for lawyers seeking to achieve the ultimate career milestone of partnership, and for team leaders and management as they help aspiring partners to prepare.
This book outlines the critical factors for success, from building a strong track record to developing a loyal client base, demonstrating leadership skills and meeting the firm's criteria. Contributors to the book discuss how to network and build relationships within the firm, review the financial aspects of partnership, and how to seek feedback and mentorship from other partners.
Preparing for Partnership is an invaluable resource for lawyers seeking to achieve the ultimate career milestone of partnership, and for team leaders and management as they help aspiring partners to prepare. This book will help lawyers navigate the complex path to partnership and realize their full potential in the legal profession.
Table of Contents
|About the authors||xv|
|Chapter 1: What does “partner” even mean?||1|
|Some economic factors||2|
|Doing excellent legal work matters – a lot||4|
|Time to partnership||5|
|Your clients are both outside and inside the firm||7|
|Some personal factors||7|
|Chapter 2: So you want to make partner? Evaluating your firm’s partnership prospects||9|
|Assumptions / disclaimers / expectations / axioms||11|
|Evaluate your readiness first||12|
|Evaluate your firm’s readiness||13|
|Chapter 3: Demonstrating readiness for partnership||33|
|Being a great lawyer – excellence||33|
|Have a brand or specialty that sets you apart||34|
|Self-sustaining network within the firm||35|
|Understand the business and where you fit in||36|
|Create a business plan that aligns with the firm’s strategy and platform||38|
|Generating a book of business||39|
|Developing a team, including a lieutenant||40|
|Firm citizenship – what does it mean and why demonstrate it?||41|
|Chapter 4: Making the choice about partnership||43|
|Why we must remember it’s a choice||43|
|Gender imparity at partnership||45|
|The impact of choice||46|
|Is it about when we have to make a choice?||47|
|The confidence factor||48|
|The fear of business development||50|
|Juggling other commitments||52|
|“It didn’t look like fun”||53|
|Getting to gender parity||54|
|Implications for diversity initiatives more broadly||54|
|Chapter 5: The business and personal traits of a partner||57|
|Management and business||62|
|Personal traits of a partner||66|
|Chapter 6: Relationships are (the) key to a successful and fulfilled career||71|
|Where do relationships begin?||73|
|The cultivation of relationships – mutual respect||73|
|The power and privilege of relationships||75|
|Tending to avoid mending relationships||76|
|It’s not too late to identify and build relationships||78|
|Chapter 7: The importance of relationships – the seven pillars of development||81|
|Understanding the importance of strong relationships||81|
|Knowing with whom you should build and maintain durable relationships||82|
|The mindset that lawyers need to progress from associate to partner||83|
|Principles of nurturing relationships||86|
|Where to relationship-build to strengthen yourfuture when you become a partner||86|
|How to turn these contacts into a loyal client base and a strong book of business||93|
|Chapter 8: Business development for the aspiring partner||95|
|The context of BD for an associate||95|
|What clients want over and above the work – the starting point for any BD||97|
|Key priorities for associates||98|
|What is the “right” kind of relationship to build?||102|
|The role of goal-setting in BD||105|
|Chapter 9: Financial management 101||109|
|Understanding the drivers of the firm||110|
|Impact of structure||111|
|Firm-wide governance and discipline||114|
|Correct management of working capital||115|
|Distribution management and policies||116|
|Growth prospects and succession||117|
|Preparation begets success||118|
|Chapter 10: The practicalities and realities of financial management as a partner||121|
|Profit and loss account||128|
|Demystifying the finance||130|
|Chapter 11: Tax and accounting as a partner||133|
|How will you be taxed?||133|
|A partner in a UK LLP||133|
|Salaried member rules||133|
|Non-UK LLPs and other types of partnerships||135|
|National Insurance Contributions (NIC)||136|
|How you will be assessed for income tax||136|
|What are the taxable profits?||139|
|Late paid tax||143|
|Chapter 12: Wellbeing and partnership in law firms – challenges and opportunities||149|
|Wellbeing – a continuing challenge for partners in a complex and moving environment||149|
|Resources and strategies for partner wellbeing||152|
|Wellbeing requires a holistic and multidimensional approach with concrete initiatives||154|
|About Globe Law and Business||159|
Tom Bird is a bestselling business author, trainer and keynote speaker who works internationally and specialises in all aspects of influence, selling, business development and presenting with a specific focus on professional service firms and international corporations. He has been designing and delivering training, writing business books, and speaking at conferences since 2001 and prior to that had a 12-year career in a number of sales and business leadership roles, including sales director of Northern Europe and vice president of European operations for both US and European based hitech companies. These roles gave Tom significant practical consultative selling, leadership, and business development experience and a real credibility and empathy with participants and the challenges they face in their daily roles and in how they approach winning work and developing client relationships.
Pippa Blakemore has worked for, advised, or presented to more than 400 law firms all over the world, ranging from international and national to small local firms, in many countries and across five continents. Pippa advises on key aspects of making law firms more successful, including strategy, leadership, management, teambuilding, business development, marketing, and public relations. She works in a range of capacities including as interim director of business development, head of marketing, project-specific work, ad hoc consultancy, presentations, seminars, training, and coaching. Pippa is a Freeman of the City of London.
Drawing on more than 20 years of talent development and human resources experience, Jennifer Bluestein leads all talent strategy and human resources functions at Perkins Coie. This includes associate, counsel, and staff recruitment, development and training, performance management, employee relations, compliance, compensation, and benefits. Jennifer deftly managed low attrition during the COVID-19 pandemic and implemented innovative wellbeing programming. With a focus on scaling a large talent organization to ensure strategic talent development on both the business professionals and legal sides of the firm, she has changed the evaluation and compensation process for associates as well as implementing the role of talent advisor and strategic workforce planning within the firm. Jennifer is passionate about making law firms a better place for everyone, but particularly for women, racial and ethnic minorities, and LGBTQ+ individuals. She was an integral part of the firm’s leadership during the pandemic, responding to and anticipating the many day-to-day challenges the firm faced with a fully remote workforce.
Jean-Baptiste Lebelle is the HR director of Allen & Overy’s Paris office. He holds a law degree from Paris II Assas and graduated from Sciences Po Paris. Jean-Baptiste taught at the Sorbonne and HEC on recruitment, retention, and career management in law firms. Jean-Baptiste has over 20 years of HR experience in the consulting sector and is especially engaged in topics related to compensation policies, recruitment, talent retention, diversity and inclusion, and wellbeing applied to law firms. He switched from headhunting for law firms to HR, becoming PWC Legal’s HR director for Paris before A&O. Jean-Baptiste has contributed to several books produced for the International Bar Association by Globe Law & Business.
Nicky Owen heads up the professional practices team at Crowe UK LLP, delivering tax advice to firms and partners alike, covering a broad and indepth spectrum. Nicky’s clients are predominately within the professional practices and include lawyers from across a variety of firms. She loves working with people, partners, managing, and finance people in firms and team members, coming up with practical solutions that work. Nicky is passionate about what she does and wants to make it simple to understand, relevant, and non-technical. To achieve this, Nicky draws from her in-depth knowledge and experience gained over 30 years. Nicky is a people person and is an ally to the various ED&I networks within Crowe.
David Parnell is the founder of True North Partner Placement, a legal recruitment boutique. Along with over two decades of experience in the legal recruitment industry, he is also an author (ABA Publishing and Ark Group), speaker, American Lawyer research fellow and former media contributor (Forbes and American Lawyer Media). David’s work can also be found in the likes of Inc., The Huffington Post, Venture Capital Post, Fox News Magazine, Lawyerist, Australasian Lawyer, NBC News, National Law Journal, Law360, Bloomberg, Legal Business World, The Global Legal Post, Business Insider, NZ Lawyer, ABA Journal and The Bleacher Report, among others.
Claire Rason is a consultant, podcaster, and accredited individual and team coach. She founded Client Talk (a coaching-powered consultancy) to help firms enhance their relationships both inside the firm, as well as externally with clients. Claire is skilled at creating business and client development strategies for professional services companies alongside the provision of the training and coaching needed to bring these to life. However, what sets her apart is her understanding of the psychology that sits behind all of this. She works with professionals to help them communicate better, whilst embracing change and challenge. She is passionate about seeing more parity in professional services firms and works with firms to create systemic change.
Michael Roster was formerly managing partner of Morrison & Foerster’s Los Angeles office, co-chair of the firm’s financial institutions practice group worldwide, and a member of the firm’s policy committee. In 1993, Michael was appointed general counsel of Stanford University, Stanford Medical Center, and Stanford Management Company. He subsequently was executive vice president and general counsel of Golden West Financial Corporation. Michael has also served as chair of the Association of Corporate Counsel, chair of the Stanford Alumni Association, steering committee co-chair of ACC’s Value Challenge, and chair of two start-up companies. He currently teaches Contract Drafting and Analysis at the University of Southern California Gould School of Law and is a director of MDRC in New York, a non-profit organization that evaluates the effectiveness of government and other programs affecting lower- and moderate-income families and individuals.
Hung Tran is a business services partner with BDO in Brisbane. His strengths include understanding his clients’ needs and building trust to ensure the desired outcome is achieved. Hung provides individuals and companies with business and taxation advice, including guidance on business structuring, succession planning, and how to effectively handle the ongoing management of a business to ensure goals are achieved. He also provides an outsourced finance function to many of his clients. Hung joined BDO in 2004 and became partner in July 2010. With a specialisation in building, construction, and property management, he leads the firm’s real estate and construction sector team.
Paul Williams is the managing partner for Shook, Hardy & Bacon’s Denver office and the co-chair of the firm’s general liability litigation practice group. He is also on the firm’s executive committee. Paul partners with clients to create relationships that achieve better legal outcomes. He believes win-win partnerships with clients are built on collaboration, innovation, strategic action, and trust – all of which ultimately bring better results and the metrics to prove them. Paul has been named a Client Service All-Star by BTI Consulting for his client-first-focused relationships. Best Lawyers in America, National Law Journal, Benchmark Litigation, Who’s Who Legal and Chambers USA have all recognized Paul based on his legal success and client input. Paul is a featured speaker, panelist, author, and resource for publications and organizations including The American Lawyer, the American Bar Association and the Association of Corporate Counsel.
Tony Young is a partner in the business services division at BDO. With over 40 years in the chartered accounting profession, Tony brings impressive experience providing taxation and commercial advice to a diverse selection of clients, including professionals, property developers, manufacturers, and retailers. Tony deals with clients from wide-ranging backgrounds, particularly family-owned and operated businesses. He also provides strategic advice to professional service firms who are looking to grow their business.