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In summer 2016 Heather Townsend revealed the 10 lessons that every potential partner needs to learn to an audience of 200 lawyers and accountants. In the seventh lesson, Heather talks about the importance of making your partners’ lives easier.

The road to partner is shrouded in mystery and conjecture.

In this clip which is number 7 of a series of 10, I’m going to shine a light on the seventh lesson learnt by my client on their way to partnership.

Let me tell you a story.  I was on the phone to my client and he said ‘I had my appraisal’.  I was thinking ‘Yeah, what happened?’ he said ‘It went really well, and there was some really good robust feedback that I completely endorsed’.  And I thought ‘What’s the but here?’  He told me, he said ‘My partners think I’ll make it to partner, they can see what I’m doing on business development, they love what I’m doing.  But they can’t trust me yet’, and I thought ‘That’s strange’.  He said ‘Yeah, my admin isn’t good enough.  I’m still appearing on what I would call the firm’s list of shame’.

You probably have them, people who have not kept their timesheet up-to-date, who’s billing is delayed, who’s WiP, who’s credit control is behind.  He said ‘I need to sort that out before my partners will confidently recommend me for partner’.

And that’s the key lesson here.  If you need to make your partner’s lives easy, you’ve got to have an understanding of what information do they need, what’s happening in their world, and how can you make their lives easy.  Because after all they’re never going to recommend somebody for partnership who causes them inconvenience, rework, and hassle.

Don’t be the one that they have to chase.  Tell them what they need to know, when they need to know it, even in advance of when they need to know it.  So they don’t have to worry about ‘Ohh, are they going to give me that information?’  Am I going to have to wing it to the senior partner and say ‘I think this is what we’re going to bill?’

Make sure that you make them look good, and make their lives easier.

So that’s lesson number 7.  Make your partners’ lives easy.