I regularly speak to audiences of lawyers, accountants and consultants about the challenges of making partner. In my talks I often share the ten lessons that my clients have learnt along their journeys to make partner. In this blog post I am going to share the tenth and final lesson; starting working towards your partner business case earlier rather than later
What is your partner business case?
Your business case is where you demonstrate to your partners the commercial benefits to them of admitting you to the partnership. This isn’t something you can write in a weekend. Creating a business case normally has three phrases:
- Building your business case – i.e. building the start of your own practice
- Writing your business case – i.e. filling in your practice’s business case forms and documents
- Pitching your business case in the partnership panel interview
Why start working towards your partner business case earlier rather than later?
Well, aside from the obvious reason that a large client portfolio doesn’t get built over night, there are some very good reasons for starting your business case right now. I’ve lost count of the number of times I have been contacted by a flustered senior associate or director who has been asked to submit their business case by Monday – often with little or no warning that this is going to happen. This happens in both the small firms and the large firms. In fact it’s fairly common in a big 4 firm for the partners to ask their partner candidates to submit a draft business case so the partners can discuss it before it is formally submitted. Now, if you’ve already got some of your business case written down, it is so much easier to produce your business case with little or no warning. When you articulate your business case on paper it crystallises your focus going forward. After all most business cases will contain a 12-month marketing plan, your numbers – i.e. what your practice is worth now and will be in the future, and most importantly, why your partners should choose you as a new partner. When you’ve written this down you can see where you have gaps and give yourself time to close these gaps before you need to actually formally submit your business case.
You never know when you may be asked to submit your business case. The earlier you are working on it, the less of a last minute scramble to submit it. But more importantly, the earlier you work on your business case the strong it will become.