More than any other sector, the partnership environment is about finding this ‘right fit’ between the candidate, the role, and the individual culture of the law firm they are applying to. Unlike most recruitment firms in the market, we are law firm specialists: we work across all management roles, exclusively within the Legal sector. Because of this, and our team’s unique level of first-hand experience within the partnership environment, we can equip our candidates with the know-how to excel in this dynamic sector.
A partnership structure in a law firm means that the firm is jointly owned by these partners: they are all shareholders, with influence over decision making, meaning there will often be many senior influential figures all residing under one roof who are all likely to be experts in their field. Beyond that, a law firm is made up of hundreds of stakeholders who often see themselves as independent bodies, with their own practice and discretion to work in their own way. There is no traditional sense of established hierarchy. Because of this structure, each firm has its own distinct culture, identity and specialisms; any candidate entering a law firm will have to be confident not only in their ability to work in any partnership environment, but, specifically, within the culture of a particular firm - and be able to build relationships fast to ensure they are able to make an impact in their role.
Though support-level roles have always played a significant role in the work of any law firm, partners traditionally took responsibility for the overall firm management and decision making. As the industry has changed, gradually at first and now - with the whole-scale transitions instigated by the Legal Services Act - with real pace, the expertise of management professionals from outside the legal sector is becoming critical to the commercial development of every law firm. But it is a sector in transition: embracing the new, but still characterised by the partnership identity that has defined them for so long; innovating at different rates with some striding ahead, and others retaining more traditional structures and evolving gradually over time.
A partnership environment is expert, uncompromising, and demanding. While required skills and qualities will vary vastly from firm to firm and role to role, some attributes are essential.
To be an effective manager within a law firm, a candidate must be tenacious, accommodating and creative; able to address and resolve issues independently and with the utmost professionalism.
They must be excellent relationship builders, with the maturity to work closely with senior figures and the sensitivity to really embed themselves within the firm’s culture.
They must adapt to the nuances of the partnership, recognise the balance of priorities constantly at play, and work intelligently to ensure often very separate agendas compliment one another.
They must be strategic at one minute - hands on the next. All the time they must be confident in their decisions.
It’s not for the fainthearted: but for the right person, there has never been a more exciting time to be involved in this unique sector and a bigger opportunity to have a real and lasting impact.
For more information on working in the legal sector, take a look at our special candidate resource,Transitioning to Legal.
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