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10 Traits That Say You Are Partner Material
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Summary: Making partner is not an easy feat but having certain skills will help you get to the point where it could happen.

Take a look at the type of attorneys that make partner. You will find that they have very notable characteristics. If you hope to make partner someday, you are going to need to have these traits. Harrison Barnes lays out the top traits in “Top 10 Characteristics of Superstar Associates who Make Partner.”


  1. They enjoy their job

The best attorneys are good because they enjoy their job. Superstar attorneys have been known to say things like, “I cannot believe I get paid to do this.” Attorneys want to see enthusiasm in associates when they are assigned any kind of job.

  1. They treat fellow colleagues like a valued client

Attorneys work to serve others. Associates must remember this by working to serve the partners they work for and all others they encounter like they are important and respected. Associates that are able to make those around them feel like they are in good hands and well taken care of will advance to partner.

  1. They have a mentor

Everyone should have a mentor helping them navigate their career and avoid costly mistakes. Having a mentor also helps the associate because mentors are likely to become attached to the associate, helping them succeed to partner.

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  1. They are in control

A good associate knows that the partners and people they work are like a client. They must keep themselves presentable and in control to make a good impression. An associate that looks sloppy and has a messy workplace will not be trusted by the partners as someone that can handle important tasks. Being in control involves physical appearance, mental health, attitude, personal actions, conduct, and more.

  1. They are committed

Commitment is essential for lawyers because their clients rely on it. To show commitment, an associate must be putting in the hours, taking on whatever task is given to them, and keeping with the firm.

  1. They protect their reputation

A reputation goes a long way. It gets built upon reliability, enthusiasm, and seriousness. Associate should treat every assignment they are given as if it is the most important thing they have going on. This includes not passing off work that they deem as beneath them or unimportant.

  1. They work hard and are available

The number of hours an associate bills will define how the law firm thinks of them. Associates that are putting in the least amount of hours will be disregarded whereas the associates putting in the most hours will be given more work and opportunities to excel. The partners also want to see the associates billing high hours because they need to complete the assigned work and not just because they feel they have to.

  1. They know how to make work

Associates need to get busy by finding work. An associate that stands around waiting for work to be given to them will find they don’t have enough work to keep their job. Associates that are able to find additional work that needs to be done and can convince the client the works needs to be done will impress the partners.

  1. They are constantly improving

The law is always changing so attorneys need to be learning and improving their skills and knowledge in order to keep up. By learning, an associate will continue improving and become even better attorneys.

  1. They are honest

Someone who tells a lie or exaggerates the truth will eventually get caught up in their dishonesty. An attorney that lies will lose their reputation and respect from partners. If an associate realizes they made a mistake, the best option is to alert the partner, giving them and the client the opportunity to fix it. Trying to cover up the mistake could lead to even more drastic consequences.

Do you think making partner is really that hard? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

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