Partner Track Politics: The difficulties of transitioning from 2nd in command to being the boss

Partner Track Politics: Heather explains how it’s important to know what to expect when you are in partner or if you’re about to make partner.

I often have this dialogue with particularly lawyers on the program. It’s on the how to make partner program, is that you need to build up your own team. But at the moment, you’re part of a pool that your partner considers as their team and the people within that pool that you delegate, your partner considers is their team. And the reality is, if you’re going to make partner, you’re gonna have to build up your own practice. That means you’re gonna have to build up your own little pool of resource and step aside from being your partner’s often, second-in-command, the person that they really trust to delegate to.

Now, it doesn’t matter how much your partner is willingly supporting you to make partner on your side that produces a conflict of interest. And, you know, the only way forward with that is to have an open dialogue of what is the impact of me taking the step up to partner. How will that change our working relationship? What does that mean on a day to day basis? And that needs to be had that dialogue and regularly, you know, not just sort of when you sort of have a conflict because you can’t jump on to their matter because you’ve got a full caseload yourself of your own.

It needs to be: This is what I’m working on. This is what I’m doing. This is where I’m moving. This is what’s gonna happen. You know, you want that to have that open dialogue and that continual open dialogue as you go through and that’s what’s important. And so, you know the key thing here is, it is about keeping that dialogue going. There will be changes as you move to partner and there will be probably the biggest amount of change on the part you work with at the moment so that needs to be open and it needs to be honest. You can’t let anything like resentment fester on either side.

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