Becoming a partner at a law firm is the goal for most associates. Beyond the income increase, there is a level of prestige that comes with making partner. The issue for many is that they don’t know how to make partner.
This post will cover effective law partnership tips for associates. It will also point out some signs that you are on track.
You need someone at the top looking out for you if you want to make partner. A good mentor is more than just someone who gives advice and teaches. At a law firm, it is someone who advocates on your behalf and pushes your interests. They are the ones who will push for you to work on important cases and put you in a position to succeed. You are not on partner track if you don’t have that person after being at a firm for awhile.
Law firms often expect young associates to take on a lot of grunt work. Firms also want to see associates billing a lot of hours. To put yourself on partner track, you need to put your all into this work and rack up the hours. It can only be an issue if you find yourself stuck in the role of doing grunt work after being at it for awhile. If the firm thinks you are partner material, it will move you onto bigger and better things.
Even with a good mentor, you need to advocate for yourself. If you seem satisfied with working smaller cases or supporting other attorneys, the firm might keep you in those roles. Law firms want to see ambition from the associates on partner track. Getting more experience can also help move you along on your journey to partner. Push for a larger role and ask for more responsibility. Let the people at the top know that you can and want to do more. If they seem hesitant to give you more, it might be a sign they don’t see you as partner material.
Your qualities as an attorney will be important for making partner. That said, relationships can make a difference. Having a mentor will be important, but you must cultivate other professional relationships. Make yourself indispensable to other partners and senior associates. Impress the clients you work with and help them recognize your value. A strong network with key people is a good sign that you are on partner track. Of course, make sure to attend industry events and join professional groups as well. Bringing in business is the way to become an equity partner someday and most work will come in by word of mouth, so connect as often as possible.
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