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After seven years of practice as a commercial litigator and a little more than five-and-a-half with the firm, I finally grabbed the brass ring — I made partner. After a weekend of basking in my newfound glory, I’ve emerged from fantasyland to face reality: I still have the same responsibility to make this firm the best, most successful place it can be. In fact, my responsibility is now greater and my partners have decided I’m up to the task. Here is what I think that might mean, having just crossed over to (as all associates call it) the “dark side.” � Keep Working — Hard. Making partner does not mean you begin living the life of leisure. Your partners considered your hard-work ethic in electing you to join them. Don’t disappoint them or the firm. Try to stay the course on your billable hours, perhaps reducing them — if at all — only as necessary to make more time for client development activities. � Get Out There. Even in a firm that doesn’t require a huge “book of business” to make partner, it just makes good business sense to sustain your own practice. Get out of the office. Make your face, your firm and your practice visible to potential clients. Take friends (who may even be grown-ups with real jobs at real companies) to lunch, dinner or a game. Become more active in all those community and charitable organizations you never had time for when you were spending late nights in the library. Take the opportunity to speak or lecture to a professional group in an area where you’d like to develop business. And join your partners in their client development activities so you can learn from them and help them sell the firm. � Consider a Niche. Developing specialized knowledge in the law surrounding a particular area of business you’ve had repeated experience in and enjoy makes your practice more marketable to potential clients in that industry. Keep up to speed on the laws and trends surrounding that business even when the particular case is over. You’ll benefit by being able to increase your workload in a business area you particularly enjoy, becoming the firm guru on all matters relating to that industry. WORK IN PROGRESS � Get Involved. Before, it was your firm, but now it is really your firm. Learn the business of the firm so you can help make it better. Participate in firm committees when you have expertise that might be helpful. You now have an opportunity to look at the books, so take advantage of it. Actually go to the partners’ meetings and participate instead of being a potted plant. � Act Like A Partner. Don’t stop socializing with your associate friends just because you became a partner. But with entry to the partnership ranks, you now are truly part of management and should act accordingly. This doesn’t mean you’re no longer the same person or that you are any less a friend to your associate buddies. But, even more now, you should use your powers for good, not evil. You now have the chance to voice any legitimate associate concerns to your partners and perhaps help the firm address them. � Be a Teacher. Take the time to supervise, mentor and train properly the associate assigned to you. Now is your chance to teach her everything that you wish people had shown you when you were a first-year. Remember, unless you have enough work to feed your associate, she will likely be doing work for other partners as well. Her work product will reflect upon you, so make sure you help her do her best. � Learn How to Delegate. When you were the stellar senior associate, everyone wanted you to do their work. Your clients and partners still do, but they shouldn’t have to pay for you to do associate-level work at your new higher hourly rate. Learn to delegate to the associate you have trained so well so that legal work is provided efficiently but the client still gets the benefit of having you oversee and coordinate the process.

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