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A blog with tips and insights into the practice of law

So you want to be a Partner?

So you want to be a partner? Chances are, so do many of your peers, because in addition to the financial rewards of partnership, the ability to have an input into the direction of the firm is an aspiration many lawyers share.


So what are firms looking for when they appoint a partner? Obviously being good at what you do is important, but there are many gifted lawyers in the profession so one must stand out in some shape or form. In my experience the thing that most effective partners have in common, is the ability to inspire the loyalty of their clients.


Many lawyers are not blessed with the kind of charisma required to attract the adulation of their clients without effort, and therefore, if you aspire to partnership, learning about marketing at an early stage of your career is essential. The “m” word always invokes a variety of emotions in lawyers and for many, fear and dread is the overwhelming feeling when marketing is mentioned. This is probably unsurprising because they don’t teach you about marketing at university, and it is not an elective you can sign up for at Law School.


But rest assured it’s not that bad – in fact lawyers often tend to make good marketers because unlike sales, effective marketing relies on following a strict methodology to come up with objectives and strategy, coupled with the ability to be creative in the way in which you implement that strategy.


So here are a couple of strategic concepts to get you thinking about marketing. At the core of any good marketing plan is an in depth understanding of client needs.


The only way to develop the requisite depth of understanding is to have a continuing dialogue with your client, which involves careful listening on your part. Your objective should be to develop an intimate understanding of your client’s business and decision drivers and consider ways you can tailor your services to make their job/life more efficient and/or convenient.


We have all heard about the one about being all things to all people – in marketing this concept is addressed by the process of “segmentation”. Segmentation is a process of dividing the mass market into submarkets with common needs so you can concentrate your efforts on a group who can be convinced that you can meet their needs better than your competitors. The key task is to find the variable, or variables that split the market into actionable segments. The two most common types of segmentation variables are common customer needs and profiles (common customer characteristics).


Hopefully this provides a small insight into a partner requisite skill that will help you on your route to partnership.