Firstly, well done for making it to partner! You have probably made the biggest and toughest step up you are ever going to make in your career. In the few months before your appointment to partner becomes permanent, you have some essential activities to see to. Here is what to do after you make partner (a.k.a your 6 priorities before signing on the dotted line!).
*This blog is an excerpt from chapter 12 of the 3rd edition of Poised for Partnership. This chapter focuses on the Partnership Admissions Process including what’s involved, how to ace it, and what to do if you’re successful or unsuccessful in the vote. Download the full chapter for free here.
Do your due diligence on yourself and your firm
The partnership admissions process is a demanding and exhausting one. Before you formally accept the offer of partnership you need time to recharge and centre yourself. Don’t feel as if you have to immediately sign on the dotted line. Talk with members of your support team, particularly your immediate family and friends, to see how you and they feel about you finally making it to partner.
You may find it very helpful to revisit the due diligence you did as you were starting to build your business and personal case for partnership. If you have not previously had the right to look at sensitive partnership documents, now is the time to request these documents and finish your due diligence. After all, you are going to be investing a chunk of your capital in the firm. When you sign on the dotted line and accept your new status as a business owner of the firm you want to be absolutely sure that this is the right decision for you. Read:
- Why you need to do your due diligence on a firm before buying in (and how to do it!)
- Doing your due diligence: How to assess if your firm is solvent
Celebrate with family and friends
Make sure you take some time out to enjoy yourself with family and friends. After all, it isn’t every day that you get asked to join a very exclusive club. You are going to have some tough times ahead as a junior partner, so take the opportunity to enjoy yourself before the honeymoon period ends.(Discover What happens after the partnership vote?)
Thank everyone who has helped you along the journey
Make a list of everyone who has helped you along the journey. Then, ring to thank each person individually. Don’t do a mass email!
Arrange your finances to invest capital in your firm
Most mid to large-sized firms will have arrangements with a bank to provide their new partners with a loan to cover the capital they will need to invest in the firm. Whatever you choose to finance your capital to the firm, you need to have it ready by the time you are formally appointed to the partnership.
Sort out your personal financial affairs
On the day you get made up to partner you will have to resign and become self-employed. You will lose all your employment rights – unless you have negotiated to retain some – and all the employee benefits you have enjoyed will come to an end. This means you need to:
- Find out what benefits your firm provides for its partners and what they will cost you.
- Potentially organise a personal pension.
- Sort out your life insurance and alternative suppliers for the employee benefits the firm previously provided you with.
- Find out how and when you will be able to access drawings. You may need to organise a short-term loan to cover the gap between when your monthly salary stops and when you can access your drawings.
- Find out what support your firm offers to help you with your tax affairs now that – if you are in the UK – you will be on self-assessment rather than PAYE for your tax.
Create your PR and communication plan
Making partner is a massive achievement, which becomes a great news story and marketing opportunity. In fact, you probably have a window of up to 9 months to exploit numerous PR opportunities in the local, national and trade press, just because you are ‘hot property’ as a new partner. Before you start to construct your own plan, talk with your marketing and PR team to see what they have already planned for you. After all, you don’t want to reinvent the wheel. They can also advise you if the news of you being admitted to partnership is embargoed. As a minimum your PR and communication plan should include:
- How and when you will break the news on social media, particularly LinkedIn and Twitter. Remember you may not be able to change your job status on LinkedIn until the day after you are formally admitted to the partnership.
- How you will contact personally, by phone or face-to-face, all of your A-listers, especially your clients and professional intermediaries, to tell them your good news
Becoming partner is often a once in a lifetime occurrence, therefore, it makes sense to do more than just the suggested minimum. Which trade publications would you like to appear in? How about thinking about some articles that you could pitch to them?
My Go-To Expert book will give you some great tips and techniques to get your PR into the media.
BONUS TO-DO: Build a new 3-year career plan
It is always a great moment for us when a client we have been supporting makes it over the line and gets the approval to join the partnership. However, the work doesn’t stop there! After all, once you have reached the top of one career ladder, you then need to start at the bottom of another one. Don’t be surprised to feel a sense of anticlimax.
After all, making partner may be what you have been striving for since you entered the professions as a trainee fresh out of university. It is at this point that we recommend to our clients that they get an empty piece of paper and build themselves a three-year career plan.(Download our free Career Action Plan Template to help with this)
One of our most sought-after courses in our subscriber-only site Progress to Partner is called “How to Build a Cast-Iron Business Case for Partner”. We think it’s a must-have in your arsenal of tools and guidance to help with your career progression. There is also a section on the Partnership Admissions process with guides and recordings to help you find your way through the system. Check it out!
Start off partnership right
It’s after you find out you have been successful in making partner that the work really begins! Use this time to celebrate and thank people but also make sure to prepare to start this next chapter right. Do your own due diligence, sort out your finances, plan your marketing, and start building your new 3-year career plan.
Don’t forget to download the full chapter of the 3rd edition of Poised for Partnership. This chapter will help you think, feel and act like a partner to strengthen your Personal Case for Partnership. Download the full chapter for free here.