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So you want to be a Partner?

5 things to think about doing on the road to Partnership.

5 things to think about doing on the road to Partnership.

With the holiday season fast approaching it is a good time to take stock of the year that has been and plan for your future. If making Partner is somewhere on the list, depending on your level it might be worth considering doing some or all of the following over the break:

1- Opposition research- Have a look at your market. Who are the key players? How has this changed over time? Are there any trends to be aware of? Who is your competition? How are they positioned? How do they market themselves? What is their USP? How are they supported? How do they go about winning business? Now taking this information into account- what opportunities are there for you?

2- Client thinking- start thinking strategically about your clients and what they really want. Work out what your niche and specialism is and identify your target market. If you don't have one yet, think about what/who do you want it to be? Draw up a list of key clients in your space. Now take a step onto the balcony and think about why a client would engage you over someone else? Remember clients are unique and what is attractive for one may not be for another. For the clients that you don’t work with yet think about how you will work with them in the future.What steps need to be taken to make that possible? For those that you do work with, how can you go about working with them more? What opportunities can you foreshadow? Are there any big changes in the legislative agenda that will affect your area of practice? Are there any disrupters lurking? How can you get on the front foot? What steps can you actively take now to develop relationships that may reap rewards in the future?

3- Network and market yourself- What often sets two very good technical lawyers apart is how they have marketed themselves. Next year put a plan in place to market yourself and network. Speak at conferences, write articles, attend functions and events, you just never know who you might meet. Connect with people. Start to establish yourself as an expert in your area, whatever area it is. Work at being the best that you can be in the field that you choose. Be honest, thoughtful and genuine when you are networking. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that people like working with and doing business with people that they like.

4- Find a mentor- Identify someone in your network that you like, know and trust and ask them for advice. Do not be afraid to do this. If you ask someone for help or even just to give an opinion on something, from my experience it is a rare thing for that someone to say no, in-fact I think it is harder for someone to say no than yes. Be patient, mentors are often busy people.

5- Speak to a recruiter- not just any recruiter, speak to a good one. From my experience recruiters by and large like giving opinions and have the benefit of having a bird’s eye view of the market. When you are speaking to your chosen agent ask them to keep you up to date with any exceptional opportunities in your area that may help you get where you want to go. Be open, be thoughtful and be ready!

Finally, if you take just one thing from this, remember that the law in the context of a Partnership is a business and the law business needs cash flow. The ability to generate revenue is often what sets two very fine, very capable, clever, talented, lawyers apart. Know that it is never to late to start developing a plan so you can reap the rewards in the future.

If you ever want to discuss the legal market or want my birds eye perspective, contact me on 0413 823 687 or drop me an email at

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