What responsibilities does a partner have?
Going from being an associate to a partner is a?natural?– albeit significant –?leap and comes with a number of responsibilities.?Understanding?what these are will make it easier to determine whether this is the path you want to take.
Duty to other partners
The first and most important of all the responsibilities?a partner has is?their duty to the other?partners.?This is a fiduciary duty, which means that?the?partner must act with the utmost good faith as they are placed in a position of trust.?It’s more than merely signing a contract of employment and?completing your?work accordingly – there is a?much greater level of responsibility to the business as a whole.
Dealing with employees
The relationship you have with colleagues when you’re an associate is likely to be somewhat casual, as you’re on an equal footing; this will change when you become a partner.?It could mean altering your behaviour, as it may be difficult for a dictator or a clown to garner respect.?You may need to conduct interviews, disciplinary meetings?and even dismissals.?Being at hand to listen to any issues that employees may have would also be the responsibility of a partner.
Rather than simply taking care of your own workload – as would be the case for an associate – a partner will be responsible for?overseeing?the?work of all employees.?Further, a partner for a large firm?may have responsibility for a number of different offices around the country.
Change in workload
The workload of a partner differs?to that of an associate?in type and volume,?and they have a greater level of responsibility?for the business. It will mean knowing what’s going on at all levels of the business, which will mean a lot more work.?It will not only involve dealings with staff internally, but will also mean corresponding with external parties.?A great deal of time will be spent in meetings, often?with other legal-industry professionals and potential clients. This will mean more travel than simply commuting to a single office and working extended hours.
Handling business matters
It's necessary for a partner to maintain and enhance the business rather than simply contributing to?it. This not only involves?keeping up to date with matters that affect the legal?industry as a whole – such as?legal aid –?but also the business itself, such as how to attract more clients.?In addition to essential requirements such as ensuring that any new?regulations are implemented,?it’ll also be necessary?for?a partner?to?carry out a range of other tasks.
A partner will have?a hand in?deciding on and approving?advertising campaigns,?not only?to attract?clients but also for?new?employees when necessary. There may also be occasions when you'll need to speak on behalf of the firm in an official capacity, publicly advising on the position on any given subject.
Dealing with complaints
Unfortunately, complaints from clients happen and dealing with them effectively in-house will prevent them escalating to external legal bodies. The investigation and conclusion of these complaints?will often fall to a partner. The natural progression of your career may mean attaining this level, which means taking on more responsibility. Understanding what these are will help you to be prepared for them and determine whether this is the right?path for?you.