Law Firm Managing Partner

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Any young lawyer, or even a law student, who wants to work in a law firm hopes to one day be a Partner.

As most law firms are structured as partnerships, when a lawyer “makes partner,” he or she transitions from being an employee of the firm (and receiving a salary) to being a part-owner of the business (and participating in the profits) (and liabilities).

It takes time and money to become one, but it is well worth the effort. Becoming a partner entails much more than simply assisting customers with their legal issues.

As a partner, you are responsible for not just retaining existing clients but also acquiring new ones, managing finance and HR, and looking into IT issues as needed.

It exposes you to management abilities that no other business school can teach you, as well as giving you enormous respect and power when dealing with top company leaders and, on occasion, government officials.

Everything you need to know about managing partners is right here.

What is the role of a Managing Partner?

Senior roles in a law firm or legal practice are held by law firm partners. They supervise the firm’s main activities while also acting as a mentor or counsellor to less senior lawyers and other employees. They play a crucial role in expanding the customer base and pursuing new business prospects. They may have some stock or ownership in addition to other compensation, depending on how partnerships are organised.

Law firm partners often have a bachelor’s degree, a J.D., and a long history of practising law in increasingly more responsible positions. They should have a track record of achievement in a specific legal specialist area.

What makes a good managing partner?

First and foremost, in today’s legal environment, there is a requirement for leadership that has a practical knowledge of the firm’s objectives (and is not). Leaders must have a compelling vision of what the company may become, as well as the will to make it happen. Many partners would respond that they want to be in a firm that knows where it’s heading and is committed to get there if you ask them what they want most from their businesses.

In a time of unprecedented and (for many) uncomfortable change in the legal profession, the capacity to handle change is equally important. To do so, managing partners must provide pastoral care to their partners in order to develop consensus on the need for change while keeping the partnership together and focused on its mission.

A managing partner can (and should) become one of the firm’s top (if not the top) rainmakers. Managing partners should play an important role in client relationship management with big clients, as well as leading business development and profile-raising initiatives.

A managing partner should also oversee the firm’s day-to-day operations, with an emphasis on finance, risk, and maximising the firm’s human resources. Whether this function is filled by the same individual or by a different person will be determined by a variety of circumstances, including:

  • the people who are available and willing to take on such responsibilities, 
  • their expertise and capabilities;
  • the firm’s size and needs.

The larger the firm, the more important it is to have a full-time managing partner who is accountable for the firm’s overall success, working alongside, for example, an executive senior partner or chairman who is responsible for some or all of the above duties. They will be the firm’s principal decision-makers together.

Why and how are Managing Partners choosen? 

Most organisations’ decision-making process for selecting a managing partner appears to favour people who qualify for the first statement but are unprepared for the second. In our experience, companies hire managing partners for a variety of reasons (or a combination of factors):

The candidate is the firm’s most powerful biller.

The applicant is regarded as the firm’s most reputable and respected lawyer;

The candidate was a powerful biller in their day and is still well-liked, but they are nearing or have reached the end of their practise years.

This appears to be a decent use of the candidate’s time while they are experiencing a slowdown in their output;

A company’s leadership is crucial to its long-term viability and legacy. Lawyers who detect ineffective leadership will frequently choose to work for a firm with stronger leadership. Lawyers will be hesitant to join a firm that has a reputation for poor leadership. Laterals will also be wary of such a company.

This isn’t to say that managing partners should know everything and make every decision. They should, nevertheless, be viewed as a source of wisdom, experience, reasoning, and courage for the company. They should also be able to lead.


Management of a law company is a complicated endeavour with many facets. It does not, however, have to be intimidating. With today’s technological advancements, automating operations and relying on legal software might relieve some of the burden. Keep in mind that every legal firm and customer base is unique. You must discover a solution that works for you when running your own law company. If you get it right, your law firm will be a success.


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