Nearly every law student that enters the world of law at a big firm has undoubtedly thought about someday making partner. In simplistic terms, making partner means that you’re now part of the core legal team and owners of the firm. There is a lot of responsibility that comes with being a partner, and while it’s that it’s a competitive field, by sticking to your strengths and knowing what law firms are looking for in a new partner, your dream of having your name in big, bold letters on the door of your office building can become a reality.
Develop a Long Term Plan
First, it’s important to know what you’re getting into. Making partner will not happen overnight. In fact, it can take nearly a decade of hard work to impress your peers to the point where they invite you to be part of the team permanently. While you may want to accept the very first offer you receive from a law firm, think about your long term goals and how that law firm operates. Do they outsource for partners or hire from within?
There will be many other new employees and young lawyers to compete with in your law firm. You can stand out from the rest of the pack by being highly accountable and dependable. Have confidence in your work and take the initiative to go the extra mile within group projects or specified tasks.
Make Your Hours
While you may have known that being a lawyer with dreams of making partner wouldn’t be easy, putting numbers to your plans might be intimidating. Law firms will expect roughly 2,200 hours of work from their associates throughout a given year. That breaks down to an average of nearly 8 hours every day – including weekends.
Make Allies with Current Partners
The easiest way to get noticed is to start small and let your work speak for itself. You’ll want to have a great relationship with the partner you primarily work with. If you’re not already connected to one, make yourself available to them and let them know why you’d make a great teammate. You’ll also want to have a close relationship with a partner that you’re not working for. This way, you are connected with another credible member of the office should your primary supervisor leave.
Understand the Responsibility
In a recent survey directed towards lawyers who have made partner, Charles P. Adams Jr., of Adams and Reese LLP stated that in order to make partner, you need to, “Understand the difference between being an owner and an employee.” Knowing the responsibility shift that will happen once your career takes its next step will help your peers to see you in a mature and professional light.