7 Habits of Highly Effective Partners

Actually it’s 8; but doing excellent work is presumed and not counted on the list by this author.

I’m sure many equity partners fall far short in following these tips. These are all aspects of managing and building a business and obviously each lawyer brings a different strength to the table (aside from his or her practice expertise); but if you consider them aspirational, it’s a good road map for success (i.e. pay for yourself, pay for someone else, cross sell, develop associates and staff, play nice, help manage the firm, represent the firm in the community).

At the end of the article, this author suggests that non-equity partner should not be a long term status (at least not for a large number of attorneys). He suggests that allowing non-equity ranks to get too large creates the perception that there is a log jam for advancement at the firm. It may even breed resentment (non-equity partners who don’t believe they are being recognized enough and equity partners who don’t think the non-equity partners are carrying enough weight).

I’m not sure I agree with this analysis. Other businesses have figured out how to segment senior staff into ownership and non-ownership categories. The whole work/life balance movement presumes that different professionals have different priorities in life (but that doesn’t mean that non-owners can’t make an important and substantial contribution to the firm’s bottom line).

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