If your career aspiration is to be a Partner in a law firm, then there are some steps that you must follow. It is not enough to follow the crowd, demonstrate competence and hope for career progression opportunities to be handed to you - you will need to seek them out and relentlessly pursue success in order to stand apart from your peers when the leadership team in your firm is seeking out the next partner.


It is essential to start building your professional network early. From the moment you join the profession, you should be looking for ways to progress up the career ladder. Developing a network of professional contacts not only broadens your experience and horizons but can give you early access to new opportunities, information and clients.

Participating in networking forums will increase your knowledge of relevant areas of law and your interest in particular sectors will attract attention from senior Lawyers practising within these areas. It will also enhance your professional experience, allow you to pursue further training and development and become highly qualified and skilled in your chosen areas of expertise.

Work ethic

To become a Partner, you need to demonstrate an outstanding work ethic. Knowledge, qualifications and experience are vital, but if you are not putting in the hours with clients, producing billable hours, successful outcomes and developing a loyal client base, then you are unlikely to be considered for a Partner role.

Recruiters for law firms expect prospective Partners to demonstrate their professionalism and an innate ability to handle responsibility. Candidate Partners are productive, dependable and goal-oriented. This means satisfying your clients' expectations, meeting or exceeding all of their objectives, communicating effectively and achieving successful outcomes.

Develop your client base

A lawyer who continually demonstrates this level of work ethic will soon build a network of clients who will trust them - and only them - to do their legal work. Once you have a portfolio of loyal clients, you become important to your firm who know that losing you means losing your clients too. Achieving this position is powerful as it cements your stature within the firm and increases the chances of you being approached with a view to becoming a Partner.

Balance of billable and non-billable hours

Lawyers with a high proportion of billable hours each month are important to law firms and tend to be noticed by the leadership team. However, it is important to remember that paying due attention to non-billable tasks can also raise your profile within the firm. Supporting recruitment efforts, developing marketing material, and demonstrating an interest in representing the business at corporate events will all showcase your wider potential, deployability and commitment to the firm.

This is essential in securing your future as it demonstrates that you are committed not only to practising law but to securing the future of the firm, which is an essential quality for any Partner whose responsibilities include strategic management.

Don't be afraid to move

If, having followed all of the steps detailed above, you do not feel that your efforts are sufficiently valued by your existing firm, you will certainly be valued by their rivals. This is particularly so if you are a specialist in a niche area or have expertise or a dedicated client following that is attractive to a rival. You should have little difficulty in finding a role which can offer you a faster and smoother route to partnership. If you do move to another firm, ensure that you remain professional at all times and focus on what is best for your career and personal development.

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