It depends. I know that not really helpful. This is because every firm is different in it’s process for admitting new partners into the partnership. Some partnerships will have this formally written down, with a very structured approach for candidates for admission to the partnership. Other, often the small partnerships, will have a very informal process. However, each partnership will have a process for admitting new partners to the partnership.
A business case for partnership can be anything from a informal chat, to a one page business plan, to a war and peace length style form, backed up by multiple interviews and assessments. If you are working for a one of the big 4 or large international law firms, you can expect your process to be of the ‘war and peace length style form’, backed up by multiple interviews and assessments, genre.
Regardless of what your firm requires from you for a business case, it will typically have two parts. (Download your free guide to writing your business case here) The logical part which is written down, and the emotional part which isn’t written down. Yes, you did read that right, there is a part which isn’t written down! The logical part sets out how you meet the criteria for partnership. I.e. your track record and skills at developing new business, leading a team, contributing to managing the practice. It also shows how you being admitted to the partnership will help the partnership achieve it’s strategic objectives.
Remember that at this point your technical competence is taken as read. What your partners are really interested in now is the other stuff, i.e. your ability and appetite for winning work and growing your part of the practice, how well you lead others and work in a team etc
The emotional part of your business case is not written down. This is the part where your partners see you as a ‘good chap’, and trust that you will strengthen the partnership team, and be able to safely lead it into the future. If the emotional connection is not there, it doesn’t matter how good you are on paper, the Partners wouldn’t admit you to the partnership.
Heather Townsend helps professionals become the Go-To-Expert. She is the author of the award winning and best-selling book on business networking, the ‘FT Guide To Business Networking’ and the co-author of ‘How to make partner and still have a life’. Over the last decade she has worked with over 300 partners; coached, trained and mentored over 1000 professionals at every level of the UK’s most ambitious professional practices.
Heather blogs regularly at How to make partner and still have a life