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Tuesday, August 02, 2016

How law firms turn associates into partners

Share on twitterShare on Google Plus by Edmund Tadros There wasn't much in the way of training when Juliana Warner was promoted to partner in 1994. Ms Warner, now the Sydney office managing partner for Herbert Smith Freehills, recalls being thrown into complex situations and having to just figure it out as she went along. "I remember becoming a partner and feeling desperately stressed because I had no idea how to do all these things that were all of a sudden expected of me," she said. Life for potential and new partners at the major law firms is very different now. Sydney-based Ashurst partner John Stawyskyj. Sydney-based Ashurst partner John Stawyskyj. Anthony Johnson Structured program The firms now have structured programs and executive coaching for senior lawyers with partnership potential to help them develop the skills they need to go from being workers to being owners. Taking part in the programs is not a guarantee of partnership but it does help the ambitious work out if they have what it takes and to gain an insight into life as a firm leader. Every year, Ashurst runs its Emerging Leaders Program between September and December for 24 senior associates or counsel from around the world. New Melbourne-based Ashurst partner Mark Bradley. New Melbourne-based Ashurst partner Mark Bradley. Chris Hopkins The program involves the participants creating a business plan for how they would bring in work for the firm as a partner, developing a career plan and taking part in psychometric assessment. This is done using a mix of webinars, seminars and three days of on-site training that was held in London last year. It also means a lot of work that has to be done around existing client work. Life as a partner "We may even internally on some of the webinars describe it as the job you do when you finish your day job," said John Stawyskyj, the Sydney-based practice leader of Ashurst's Australian property and projects group. "It is a representation of what you have to do as a partner. "You have to do work, you have to go out there and win work. [You have to] be continually developing yourself personally. Your brand, your contacts and your client base." Mark Bradley, who was one of the 12 internal staff promoted to partner at Ashurst in May, said the program helped him focus on how to see business opportunities for the firm. "It's really just stepping back from whatever particular work you're doing and thinking about where you see the opportunities, coming up with a pretty concrete plan to see where you can build new relationships," Melbourne-based Mr Bradley said. "It takes a lot of time because you really need to drill down into detail how you'll implement [your plan], who you'll be working with and what the challenges are in implementing." At Herbert Smith Freehills, the firm has a Potential Partner Development Centre, which is run over two years and also involves staff developing a business case for their promotion, and the Promotion to Partner Panel, which is the formal process for assessing new partners. 'I can see you as a partner' Bryony Adams, who was sponsored by Ms Warner when she became a partner at Herbert Smith Freehills in 2015, said developing a business case as part of the whole promotion process helped her make the transition to partnership in her mind. "Really it is helping you come to terms with the kind of partner you want to be and getting you skilled up, so that when you are day one as partner you're not suddenly starting from scratch and thinking 'how am going to develop my business'. You've actually got a plan." The firm also hired an executive coach who in the six months leading to promotion helped Ms Adams on her presentation skills. "I was given a coach to go through that process," she said, "an external coach hired by the firm to talk to me about how to sell myself." The results were noticeable even to Ms Adams' friends and family. "In my weeks leading up to the interview, I had lots of people tell me 'I can see you as a partner now' – and I could see me as a partner." Read more: http://www.afr.com/business/legal/firms-use-formal-programs-coaches-to-create-partners-20160727-gqfe8q?&utm_source=social&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=nc&eid=socialn:twi-14omn0047-optim-nnn:nonpaid-27062014-social_traffic-all-organicpost-nnn-drive-o&campaign_code=nocode&promote_channel=social_twitter#ixzz4GAsVd2hr Follow us: @FinancialReview on Twitter | financialreview on Facebook

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