3 minute read

Five Tips for Newly-Promoted Law Firm Partners

Matt Pollins

Matt Pollins

young man who is recently promoted
In this article

    So, you polished up your business case, crunched the numbers on your financial projections, navigated all the interviews and assessments, and anxiously waited for news of the partnership promotion process. And…you did it! You’re now officially a law firm partner.

    So…now what?

    We asked law firm partners what the first year of partnership is really like and what they wish they’d known. Here are five things we learned.

    1. Take a moment

    You’ve just made a big step forwards in your career. It’s probably something you’ve been working towards for many years. And you’ve invested a huge amount of time, effort and emotional energy in making this happen. A whole new challenge lies ahead, so recognise that there is going to be a transition period. Make sure you pause to reflect on your achievement and find time to celebrate properly before throwing yourself into what’s next.

    2. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself

    Be prepared for a little bit of imposter syndrome – everyone feels this to some extent. Yes, your job title changed overnight, but no magical spell was cast that transformed you into an entirely new human being. We heard that new partners often put themselves under unrealistic pressure to know everything and build a mega-practice overnight. Every partner who’s more experienced than you knows what it feels like to make this jump and they know it’s not easy. Don’t be afraid to ask dumb questions. And, if you can, grab a coffee with those more experienced partners to ask them how they navigated all this.

    3. Network internally at least as much as externally

    Other partners really want to see you succeed. You’ll be one of the first people they’ll want to work with on new matters or client opportunities. Make sure you don’t overlook the importance of your internal network. As a new partner, you have a unique opportunity to position yourself around the new and exciting issues affecting the clients and industries you serve. Identify what those new issues are – maybe it’s a new regulation, a new technology, a new industry trend – and look to provide hooks for your colleagues to use during their next client conversations.

    4. Think like a business owner

    Depending on the nature of your partnership, you may now be an owner of the business. That’s of course important financially but it’s also symbolic because as a partner, you now need to think and operate like a business owner rather than an employee. Again, none of this comes overnight, but look at the more senior partners who inspire you and how they look to work “on the business” as well as “in the business”.

    5. Remember you’re in the service business

    One of the biggest shifts from associate to partner is the shift from delivering great work product to delivering great work product and great service. A lot of partners we spoke to talked about how as associates they had underestimated the service factor. A great anecdote we heard was, “Think of the last time you engaged a service provider and whether you’d recommend them to someone else. Let’s say you hired a plumber to fix the shower. The work product – the fixing of the shower – is one thing. But really you take it as a given that they can fix the shower. Whether you’d recommend them to someone else probably depends more on things like whether they were responsive, whether they showed up at the agreed time, whether their invoice matched the quote, whether they followed up the next day to make sure all was working, etc.”

    The most important takeaway from the partners we spoke to was: you’re in for a really exciting and positive year. There are new challenges but don’t put yourself under too much pressure, because everybody knows you are new at this, and the partners around you have been through it all before.

    Oh, and lastly, don’t forget to update your email signature to “Partner” and get those new business cards printed 😉

    New Partners get free access to Lupl for 12 months

    Lupl’s New Partner Program provides 12 months of free access to Lupl’s next-generation matter management platform for new partners and their teams. Terms and conditions apply. See Lupl in action with a quick demo, or contact to learn more about the program.

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