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Are You Partner Material?

published October 15, 2003

John Scalzi
( 178 votes, average: 4.5 out of 5)
What do you think about this article? Rate it using the stars above and let us know what you think in the comments below.
1 You've just made partner. Your life is now:

A Harder. The workload increases exponentially.
B Easier. You now have a huge support staff.
C Different.
Are You Partner Material?

Be prepared for more work, not less, when you make the jump. Sure, now that you're a partner you can delegate piles of work to associates that partners once delegated to you. But older partners can now delegate piles of work to you. "It's harder," says John Kuehn, a partner in the New York office of Kirkland & Ellis. [A]

2 In terms of your professional relationships as a partner, which of the following three groups of people is most important?

A Associate
B Clients
C Partners

Close call. Your partners, by definition, share a business with you. Uneasy relationships with any of them can mean trouble for the business overall. As Keith Wetmore, chairman of San Francisco's Morrison & Foerster, puts it, "You've got a fiduciary duty to your partners." Bring in the clients, bring in the money, and work to ensure the highest profits for all. To do that, of course, you have to be supremely attentive to your clients' needs. And, says Wetmore, you also have an ethical obligation to represent your clients to the best of your ability, and in accordance with various rules and regulations. But in a perfect world — that is, one in which every partner feels confident he'll be with the firm forever — doing good work for the client is always in service of honoring your duty as a partner. [C]