A key retention strategy for a successful African law firm must be partnership clarity i.e. transparency for rising legal stars on what it takes to make partner. That said many firms fail to clearly communicate their expectations or indeed the path to partnership. As a result valuable law firm talent can quickly become formidable competitors (who often move to another law firm for all the wrong reasons) or who set up their own ‘challenger’ firm. In some cases, this can mean not just a loss of valuable personnel for the firm but more importantly the loss or at least the destabilisation of significant client relationships. So why do so many established African law firms take the risk when this can be mitigated simply by having a clear partnership track? Afterall having a promotion strategy need not mean guaranteeing partnership for every ambitious lawyer. On the contrary, a law firm’s ability to provide some transparency as to timeline, criteria and procedure for partnership promotions can even mean that there is even greater self-assessment by those gearing up as future leaders.
It goes without saying that the nature of law firms means that there is no cookie cutter approach to partnership, and thus it is imperative that established firms who plan on remaining successful for the long term have clear guidance for ambitious upcoming seniors on what it takes to rise through the ranks. Whether your firm opts for a lockstep model of partnership, an eat what you kill approach or something in between, the fact remains that having a clear roadmap and candid communication on the partnership roadmap is part and parcel of having a thriving 21st century law firm. At LGC we have worked with clients in developing or improving on their partnership promotion strategy. Below we summarise some key considerations in developing a partnership promotion strategy:
To access the free LGC guide on developing partnership promotion structures or to discuss how we might be able to help you, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.