You Made It! You’re a Partner—Now What?
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The day has finally come. After years of tremendous work and dedication, your firm has nominated you for partnership. A great accomplishment! You can feel the changes instantly. You earned the respect of your office, your clients, your peers, and your practice group. You clearly deserve this, so take some time to let all sink in and enjoy the achievement.

When you started out, making partner seemed so far out of reach. The odds were against you, but you persevered. You worked long hours, you learned how to please and impress clients, you sought out experienced mentors and advisors, you learned how to market yourself, and you’ve become a hell of a lawyer. Finally, you made partner.

You made partner, now what?

Now that you have the title, you are entering the “go for it” phase, and you can enjoy a period of stability. At this point, it’s crucial to do some soul-searching and identify your purpose. What is your vision? What is important to you at this time? What are the values you want to hold on to?


This is the right time for you to create a plan and finally focus on building a life, not a resume. You should put pen to paper and design a life plan in terms of how you will manage your career from now on.

Identify relationships (both private and professional) that are important to you, and elicit the support of others as you transition into this period of success. This phase of stability usually lasts as long as your work is of high standards, challenging, and offers opportunities for growth.

Of course, there may come a point where the excitement of being a partner slips into a routine and you no longer challenge yourself. When it comes to this, there are two options: you can remain stuck in a set of doldrums about your career, or instantly move out of this phase by looking for new challenges and new areas.

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Master your business development plan 

Where do you begin?

Law schools didn’t teach you much about business development. As an associate, you were expected to keep your nose to the grindstone and work long hours rather than engaging in non-billable activities like business development. But don’t worry, almost every ambitious lawyer has the latent skills to become an excellent business developer.

Business development, as the name suggests, is about taking action and cultivating relationships. 

Here are the necessary steps to get your foot in the door of business development:

Step 1: Develop a Personal Brand

Your personal brand is the intersection of your competence, passion, and the needs of the marketplace.

Step 2: Know Your Market

Whether your practice is litigation, regulatory, or transactional, understanding the operational, economic, and business dynamics of your market is crucial to defining your services, developing a go-to-market plan, and delivering it to your clients.  

Step 3: Develop a Go-to-Market Plan

Your go-to-market plan should include the objectives, tactics, and strategy that will enable your personal brand and generate new clients.

Step 4: Execute Your Plan

At this point, you should employ specific tactics to enhance your credibility and visibility with quality contacts, both existing and targeted. The “art” of this step is using tactics that align with the comfort level of your personal brand.

Step 5:  Share Your Knowledge

Your stock is high right now, so take advantage of your position and engage all the people who supported you along the way. Throw your hat in the ring and speak on legal topics of interest at bar association conferences, webinars, and firm-sponsored events. This will help get your name out there. 

Step 6: Influence with Integrity

In this stage, you should convert prospects into clients by using a process called “influencing with integrity”. Use a structured dialogue that explores the fit between your services and your client’s needs. The Pipeline Discipline is a great tool where you can classify prospects and move them through the pipeline to a decision to buy.

Step 7: Focus on Creating Consistent Habits

In business development, time is a valuable currency, and creating habits is a smart use of your time. Calendar blocking, note-taking, and your firm’s customer relationship management software should all be embedded in these habits. 

Step 8: Build Clients for Life

Convert one-time engagements into lifelong clients by deepening the services you provide. Remember, these clients can be potential advocates for your assistance. Exceptional emotional intelligence skills and communication skills are necessary skillsets that can be learned can help you achieve this elite status. 

Each step you take is an investment in your practice. While it is reasonable to feel uncomfortable in the beginning, once you overcome the fears and blockages you will find your groove and make an excellent partner. Always listen to your gut and take action. As Mark Twain put it, “Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. Throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Imagine. Discover who you really are and what is most important in your life.”

Here’s to being a successful new partner! 



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