If you don`t engage in the business you`re in, it will manifest itself in all sorts of ways. Often when many employees move, a partner is incredibly rude to them and lures them in after weeks of very hard work (or they get a review that isn`t that strong). The employee then gets angry and starts looking for a job. “I didn`t learn anything about being associated with law school,” says Kimberly Blacklow, a partner at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP, who sits on the diversity committee of the large international firm. Law school “trains you to research, write, analyze and think like a lawyer, but it doesn`t prepare you at all to work in a business law firm. All you learn is through observation, relationship building and hard work,” says Blacklow. Years of creating complex financial plans for lawyers have shown that the transition to partner can be financially challenging. Many new partners are unprepared; To enter the gold key, you may need to deposit capital, be taxed as the K1 owner of a partnership, and face a complex array of financial expectations and obligations, not to mention significant liability and compliance restrictions. And while the financial benefits of the partnership will certainly be considerable, the transition and the first year can be complex and cash flow challenging. The non-negotiable technical skill you need to become a partner is your expertise. Whether you specialize in a unique and super-niche area of law or are recognized as an expert in an area of the industry, you must be a professional in that field to be considered for a partnership. Most law firms expect you to work every day of the week when an important assignment is due. Gaining a reputation for being fast, reliable and thorough will help you tremendously.
The mindset that has allowed you to succeed as a partner will not lead you to success as a partner. Whether you`re looking to become a partner in the next year or decade, it`s never too early (or too late!) to develop the skills, experiences, and attitudes that will set you up for success as a partner in a law firm. When I worked in large law firms, there were always employees in those firms who did not have jobs. Often they did a bad job with only a few orders for one or more partners and got a bad reputation that spread like wildfire throughout the company. I`ve seen this happen to more lawyers than I can count, and it`s never a good thing. Gonzalez continues to provide support to employees on the path to partnership as he looks back on his first year as a partner. “I think it went very well. I did what I needed to do to take care of my clients. I took on administrative tasks and obligations and got involved in marketing.
It`s been an eventful year, he says, but I`ve done well. And finally, working as an equity partner has the potential to make a lot of money. Since your remuneration is tied to the law firm`s profits if it performs well, this also applies to your personal bank account. So when you hear your client talk about an issue that`s outside your area of expertise, you`ll know what questions to ask to determine if someone in your company could help you. I didn`t look for a partnership because my mentor, a Chambers partner in my field, once told me that if he could go back in time, he wouldn`t have chosen this path for himself. The stress you feel as a partner is worse than as an employee. The only benefit is a higher salary, which is of course fantastic, but the quality of life is not good. I took that to heart. There are financing options, but it`s worth noting that, depending on how you fund your equity stake, you may very well earn less in your first year or two as a partner than you did as a partner. The financial process to become a partner in some firms may require money upfront for the deposited capital, while others may deduct a lawyer`s partnership share from income over time. It can be surprising to have to “file” to become a partner. A significant number of lawyers in law firms are not work-related.
This lack of commitment becomes evident in many ways to partners and others. You need to be 100% committed to the company you work for and the work you do to move forward. When the lawyer and the law firm meet, the two have been reviewed and their meeting is proceeding smoothly. There may be further interviews and back and forth before an offer is made and the lawyer is hired. It seems like nothing happened, but an incredible amount of work has been done behind the scenes to make sure everything runs smoothly. The interaction between the firm and the lawyer was nothing but positive (although they would never have met if I hadn`t been involved). One of the downsides of working in a large company is size, which translates into greater competition for partnership locations and relatively less personal relationships with partners.