You’ve poured your heart and soul into writing your business case for partnership. Your challenge is now to condense your ‘war and peace’ business case (and we have seen firms which literally require their partnership candidates to submit business cases which are over 50 pages long) into a 10 minute persuasive, engaging and impactful presentation for their partnership panel interview. In this article, we share the tips which have helped our clients make a persuasive and impactful pitch when it comes to their business case for partnership.

What is the partnership panel interview?

In some firms, typically the mid-tier law firms and small accountancy and law firms you may only need to submit a written business case. Or sometimes not even that! However, most partnership admissions processes include a partnership panel interview. This is where you will pitch your business case, and typically be assessed on your personal case at the same time. I.e. Are you someone that the partners want in the partnership? From our experiences with clients you tend to only get 10 minutes in your partnership panel interview to pitch it. After you have done your presentation of your partnership business case the rest of your partnership panel interview will normally be questions on and around your business case AND sometimes your personal case. Some firms do split up the partnership panel interviews between the personal and business case. However, you should always expect that the questions you receive at your partnership panel interview will be assessing both.

1. Start with a one-page talk sheet

When faced with a powerpoint slide, it can be tempting to cram in all the detail you think may help. This is a massive trap, and one which will trip you up. You need to make sure that before you start your presentation you can reduce your business case for partnership into ideally 4-5 visuals and a small amount of text. These are the essential elements of what we call a one-page talk sheet. (See here for more about a one-page talk sheet) The beauty of a one-page talk sheet is it forces you to get incredibly clear about the important messages you want to communicate at your partnership panel interview. Once you are clear about these important messages you will find it easy to put together the presentation of your partnership business case.

Click here to download a template of a one page talk sheet you can use right now to recreate your own one page talk sheet

2. This isn’t the time to go through your CV

You’ve had a great career to-date. Therefore, it is entirely understandable that you want to share as much of the great stuff as possible. However, at your partnership panel interview, unless expressly asked to do so, this is not the time to share your CV. Who cares whether you went through your firm’s elite leadership programme? Unless some aspect of your past really strengths your argument for why I should be made up to partner, then leave it out. What matters is very simply, can you convince your partnership that you are a  great addition to the partnership? That you will:

  • Bring in profitable work for your department and others in the firm
  • Build a sustainable client portfolio and leave a positive legacy for the firm
  • Develop a strong pipeline of talent beneath you
  • Be a good fit culturally for the partnership and complement the existing partners in the firm; and
  • Are in it for the long term and are committed to the long term goals and vision of the firm

3. Quantify your claims

Anyone can articulate a good business case where they promise they will achieve the earth. Additionally, anyone can also claim to be:

  • Leading
  • Experienced
  • Great at developing business
  • Excellent team leader

Words are very cheap. But it is far more about what you have done, and how you evidence what you have done which matters. Any claim which you make in your business case about your prowess needs to be backed up by proven and quantifiable evidence. Before you submit your business case look through it and eliminate any unsubstantiated claims.

Click here to download a guide to creating a cast-iron business case for partnership (email required)

4. Storyboard your business case

I’ve talked in this post about the importance of your story. However, when you are confined to an, often standard, slide deck template, your story becomes very important. If you were to take your partners through a story to tell them about the opportunity they will gain if they promote you to partner, what would you want to tell them? Now reduce that down to only 3 things. You may hesitate about reducing it down to three things. After all you have so much good stuff that you want to tell your partners. I promise you that if you get crystal clear about the few things which answer the ‘why should you promote me to partner’, your business case will get stronger as a consequence.

Click here to download a guide to creating a cast-iron business case for partnership (email required)

5. Consider ditching the slides all together in favour of handouts or a talk sheet

Who said you need to use a powerpoint deck in your partnership panel presentation? Remember that the purpose of the presentation is to engage with your partners to demonstrate that you will be a great bet for partnership. This means that you may like to consider ditching your slides all together in favour of 1-2 talk sheets.

Click to here download a template of a one page talk sheet you can use right now to recreate your own one page talk sheet

6. Keep it visual

You typically only have 10-15 mins to present your business case. How you use this time is up to you. However, the more you can use visuals to show the commercial rationale for your business case & your evidence to back up your projected figures, the easier it is to make the right messages stick.

7. Remember to include the ‘why me, why now’ element in your presentation

Your partnership panel interview is where you pitch not just your business case, but the why me, why now element of your business case. Within the presentation you need to be able to persuade your partners that they would be taking a large risk to decide to not make you a partner this time around.

In summary:

Regardless of whether you are forced to use a PowerPoint template for your business case, reducing the ‘padding’ until you focus on the key messages is vital for your success.