1. By becoming a partner you will be taking on three roles – owner, investor and worker.
2. As an owner you will be responsible for the future direction of the business and the livelihoods and welfare of the staff. (But in a larger firm your actual influence is likely to be minimal at least initially.)
3. The question to ask when thinking as an investor is, would you be prepared to put your hard earned savings in to this business – or advise a close friend or relative to do so?
4. You will carry on as a worker in the firm, but that role is likely to change from simply doing your own work to generating work for others. (In fact if you are not already doing this you are probably not ready for partnership.)
5. Focussing on the future – do you know what the strategy of your firm is? What are your interesting and creative ideas for how the firm (and your practice area) could develop?
6. How good are you at communicating those ideas and inspiring others? How good is your network within the firm?
7. Do you know how the finances of the business work – what increases or damages profitability?
8. What is the market for your firm or practice area? Who are the clients – existing and potential? Where and how should business development be focussed?
9. Are you able and willing to develop individuals and teams? Can you show evidence of doing this now?
10. How much time and effort are you willing to commit to the firm? What is the firm’s attitude to work/life balance and wellbeing?
And in the light of recent law firm headlines
11. How well do you know your fellow partners? Do they share your values? Do you trust them?