Picking partners 

news & knowledge 

May 15, 2015

Martin Thompson, a partner in our Employment and Labour Relations Group, and David Elenbaas, Chief Professional Officer and co-chair of the Professional Services Committee, were recently interviewed by Carolynne Burkholder-James for The Canadian Bar Associations' National Magazine article: "Picking partners."

When looking for partners, Burkholder-James poses the question: "What [do] law firm leaders want?" In speaking to various lawyers, the article concludes that it's a combined set of legal skill, people savvy and ambition. Thompson believes hard work and substantives skills are just the starting point. He is quoted as saying, "We want people who are team players – internally inside the firm and externally in the community." And on top of that, "We're looking for people who are innovative and modern," he says.

Elenbaas cautions that the "The business of ‘big' law has changed from when he became a partner in 1989. " We, of course, have had to do more to remain successful partners in the changing marketplace," he says. Those aspiring to become partners must be able to generate work and business opportunities for their individual practices and for others in their firm.

To sum it up, law firms are looking for a mix of legal expertise and business development acumen, and good people skills. To learn more of the necessary attributes of future legal partners, click here.