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 seventh lesson; make your partners’ lives easier.
Why do you need to make your partners’ lives easier?
As a fee earner it can be easy to go into your own little bubble, where everything is about you and you forget that your actions have an impact on others. For example, lets take your timesheet. Yes, they are a right pain in the proverbial to fill in. Does it really matter if you submit your timesheet a few days late? In the grand scheme of things, normally it doesn’t matter. However, if your partner is needing to report on their likely billing for the month to the rest of the firm, your delayed timesheet is either stopping them submitting their report or giving them erroneous figures. Think about what your partner is feeling about you now? If you can’t be trusted to get your timesheet in on time, what else can’t you be trusted with? Suddenly that late timesheet seems far more important!
Remember your partners are inviting you to join an exclusive club
When you make partner it’s not just another promotion, it is where your partners decide to share ownership of the firm with you. This means they need to trust you and be totally confident in your abilities. Whilst being late on your billing, cash collection or submitting your timesheet may seem like a very minor thing in the grand scale of things, it can damage your chances of making partner. As an owner of the firm you will have responsibilities to your partners. These will include regular reporting on how your part of the practice is performing financially, both your current billing and future pipeline. Who are you likely to promote to partnership or actively sponsor for partnership, someone who gets all the figures to you without needing to be asked, or someone who you have to always chase to get the information you need?
It isn’t always easy being a partner
Being partner can be a thankless and stressful role. Your time is sacrosanct, so consequently wasting time chasing people for information can be very frustrating. The more you can anticipate what your partners need and make their lives easier, the more likely they are to want to help you get to partner.
Anticipate what your partners need to know, e.g. billing, client-related matters so you can tell them what they need to know without being chased. This in turn will make them more likely to want to help you progress your career to partner.