Partner Moves: 5 Things to Consider

Moving jobs, at the best of times, can be a complicated and time-consuming process. I specialise in Partner moves in London and have seen my fair share of convoluted processes sap the excitement out of lateral moves. The prospect of joining the right firm, I believe, should be met with both eagerness and caution. Therefore, I have listed some points below which I think Partners or Senior Lawyers looking to make a move to Partnership should keep in mind, to avoid becoming disenchanted with the process.

The Process is Taking Too Long

The Partner recruitment process in my experience takes the longest of any process within a law firm. We are talking months, as opposed to weeks. And why is that? It’s mostly due to the fact you are interviewing with incredibly busy people. The chances are that including yourself, there are three or four Senior Lawyers with already full diaries who need to be coordinated for a date and time that suits all parties. However, in our current situation and with the increase in virtual meetings, the process can be sped up a notch more these days.

I have been Asked to Provide a Business Plan

After initial successful meetings, you will likely be asked to provide a business plan. This will be an ‘action plan’ based on what your first year at the firm might look like and the methods you would use to deliver it. Before you even begin your job search, I recommend you begin to think about putting together a ‘skeleton plan’ which could then be adjusted to suit different firms. Don’t panic on hearing about a business plan. It is a typical part of the process and should be seen as a necessary step for both parties to establish expectations around your practice.  

It Seems Like I am Meeting with Everyone Who Works at the Firm!

Yes, it can seem like that but it is another typical step in the process. See it from the firm’s perspective – this is a particularly important hire for them. And for you, it is an excellent chance to meet all those who you will sharing an office with and be potentially working with each day. It also gives you an opportunity to speak with various people in the firm and gather their points of view on what it’s truly like to work there.

I Want to Take my Clients to a New Firm

99% of the time, there will be an expectation to bring at least some of your clients to your new firm. This will enable you to open files from day one and begin building a successful and profitable practice. In general, firms tend to live by the ‘3x rule’ whereby you would bring in work to three times your basic salary. Before you arrive, firms will expect to hear what clients you could bring across, how you would bring them, and what value in fees they could potentially be. None of this is an exact science. However, these figures are used as a yard stick by firms to project what your practice would look like in your first year.

Will Firms Wait for Me if I am on a Long Notice?

In short, yes. It is typical for candidates to be on long notices, even 12 months+. Firms will gladly wait for the right person for 12 months as opposed to taking the wrong person tomorrow. In my experience, notice periods can be negotiated down as your files are wrapped up or passed over. An efficient handover is always the best way to get your notice period down if that is your wish.


Are you a Partner looking to make a lateral move? Or are you a Senior Lawyer ready to make a move to Partnership? Contact George at for advice on the market and those firms ready to hire, as well as for support and guidance through the process.

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