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How Do I Work up to Law Firm Partner?

Autumn Rivers
Autumn Rivers

Would-be law firm partners often spend years trying to prove themselves to their firm, but there are a few tips that can make the process shorter and easier. The simplest way to start is to observe how current partners at the firm behave, because you will at some point need to know how to act similarly. Another way to work up to law firm partner is to make it clear that you can earn money for the practice. You also should be sure to demonstrate your knowledge of the law, either through sound advice or contributions to professional publications.

One of the first steps is to find at least one lawyer in the firm who has had a successful law career so far. Take note of how he spends his day at the law firm and consider how he treats both clients and other attorneys. Observe how he dresses and whether he has a professional attitude or a friendly demeanor also can help. Look at how others react to him, because you want other people to react to you the same way once you are on the road to becoming a law firm partner. If you are unsure about something at the firm, then consider asking a top lawyer within the firm for clarification, because you likely can trust that his experience will steer you in the right direction.

Businessman with a briefcase
Businessman with a briefcase

You also should make it obvious that you are interested in the law firm's success, because partners have a more direct financial stake in the business than associates do. You can do this by working as many hours as it takes to get the job done, even on non-billable tasks when necessary. You also should try to bring in new clients, rather than just taking on the cases given to you. In general, you should remember that the goal of most successful firms is to make money while helping clients, and you need to prove that you can do both regularly if you want to make law firm partner.

Another way to work up to law firm partner is to show that you are a legal expert. One way to show that you are invaluable when it comes to the legal profession is to specialize in one or two areas, acquiring knowledge that most other lawyers in the firm do not possess. You should make it obvious that you have these special skills, in part by offering your advice to both clients and other lawyers in the firm when necessary. You also can demonstrate your skills by writing articles to post on the firm's website or to send to publications. This can bring positive attention to the firm, which may increase your chances of working up to law firm partner.

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