3 Tips for Making Partner at a Law Firm

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Making partner in a law firm is considered the pinnacle of one's career. It is the equivalent to becoming a C-level executive in a large firm, able to count on profiting from the business' profits because you own a share of the firm. The question for many is how to get there in the first place. Here are three tips for making partner at a law firm. We'll focus on practical advice anyone can follow.

Create the Connections

To become the best (and make partner), you want connections to the best. You want to be mentored by the best partner in the firm if you can make it. One strategy to become partner is to intentionally move in as an assistant to someone who is overworked. Now you're providing help to someone who needs it and learning the ins and outs of an area where the skills are in demand and there's clearly a deficiency of talent. Don't network just to become partner, but create deep relationships with long term clients and coworkers. Don't forget to maintain balance in your own life so that you don't burn out and quit law.

Seek Feedback

As you're approaching the five year mark, honestly ask if you're still on the partner track. It may take six or seven years in some firms and ten in others. However, you don't want to spend years at a law firm expecting to make partner if they don't think your performance, dedication, skill set or time invested will put you on that track. Don't assume. Ask them if you're putting in the hours at work to be considered for that promotion. Ask if the clients you're bringing in are worth it to the organization or if you need to spend less time socializing and more time finding clients.

If you aren't winning enough cases, ask for a different mentor or if further education in leadership earning an executive leadership masters from an institution like Norwich University will get you back on that track. For many, the executive leadership masters program provides the opportunity to develop leadership skills and demonstrate them in the classroom and in school assignments that you may not get at work.

Consider Your Options

If you don't make partner in six to seven years, there is a good chance you won't make partner at that firm. If you don't, a lateral move to another firm would be a good idea if it puts you on the partner track there. Lateral moves are becoming more common, so it won't hurt your resume. Conversely, coasting along and then being kicked out at year ten does hurt your resume. Alternatively, you could earn a masters in executive leadership as a first step to launching your own practice.

Conclusion

If you want to make partner, you have no choice but to earn the credentials and work hard on creating real connections with the people who matter. Don't just assume that you will earn partner after a decade of hundred hour workweeks and be proactive.

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