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Advice to Land Your First Law Firm Partnership

Young attorney shakes hands with her boss after landing her first law firm partnership.

How do you become a partner in a law firm? Conventional wisdom suggests that you might be offered a partnership as a result of hard work, demonstrated commitment to the firm, expertise in a certain practice area, and strong client relationships. While these factors certainly play a role, there are some unexpected things that you can do to stand out among the ranks.

In this article, we’re going to review and discuss some strategies you can use to help you land your first law firm partnership. Let’s get started!

Become a Business Asset

The truth is, everyone competing for a law firm partnership has positive client relationships and performs high-quality legal work. These things are no longer considered unique selling points for a candidate, but rather, they have become the unspoken requirements for consideration. Law firms have also begun to acknowledge the risks of having too many cooks in the kitchen. This means that you’ll need to become a business asset to snag one of these finite opportunities.

There are a number of differences between your value as an associate and your potential value as a partner. To become a business asset, you’ll need to generate business for the firm that goes beyond your assigned tasks. Try to seek out business development opportunities and work to cultivate new professional relationships. You can also bring in more revenue by generating new matters from existing clients or recruiting new ones.

Consider the Economics

When you’re an associate, you receive compensation in the form of a salary. As a partner, you would be compensated based on a percentage of the firm’s business. For this reason, you can expect that productivity and billable hours will impact your eligibility for a partnership.

You should expect that you will be evaluated based on the number of clients that you work with, as well as the overall profitability of the matters you’re focusing on. If your specialty area is not particularly profitable, you can change the perceived economics of promoting you by becoming an expert in a specific substantive area of your practice.

Define & Identify

Whether you’re looking for a promotion at your current firm or considering new opportunities, you should practice articulating how you’ll help each specific firm reduce costs and improve their ROI. You should clearly understand the value of your specific expertise, and learn as much as you can about how that expertise will impact the firm’s bottom line.

Try to envision yourself as a salesperson. Now is the time to be aggressive, showcase yourself, and talk about your skills! It takes something special for an attorney to make partner, but you can improve your chances by helping to develop the business, understanding firm economics, and maintaining a positive attitude.

Final Thoughts

Thanks for reading! We hope these tips have given you some insight into how you can improve your chances of snagging that coveted partnership position. If you enjoyed this article, let us know on social media!

Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns. At First Legal, we’re here for you from File Thru Trial™!

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