Choosing the Right Business Partner in a Law Practice

law firm choosing partners

Choosing the right business partner in a law practice can impact your life almost as much as choosing the right spouse. Like a good marriage, a good law partnership that works well values common goals while embracing differences. Choosing the right partner can mean prosperity and choosing the wrong partner can mean failure. 

It is important to do your due diligence, and find out about their expertise as an attorney, work ethic, personality, how they handle their finances, and also, their family life, as these factors will all affect the success of the business. Before committing to a business partner in law practice consider the following:

Bond over Passion and Expectations

It is important for each partner to be passionate about the same things and share a similar vision, mission, and goal for the partnership. You and your partner should also share the same ethical and character standards. You should be able to trust your partner with your signature and managing the finances of the business. You should trust your partner to always operate in the best interest of the partnership and not engage in conduct that has the potential to negatively affect the partnership. Your partner should be dependable and reliable with all matters of the business.

Expertise and Quality of Legal Work

In considering a legal partner, you must consider everyone’s level of experience and expertise. If you are a new attorney, you may want to consider a partner who is more experienced. If you are an experienced attorney, you may want to consider a younger, less experienced attorney, who may not have as much expertise, but has the energy, motivation, willingness, and longevity to drive the partnership forward. In the end, the goal should be to deliver the highest quality of legal work to your clients. You and your partner should share the same drive, work ethic, and commitment to the business.

Complement One Another

While you and your partner should share the same mission, vision, and goals, you should look for a business partner who brings something different to the table than you do. The best qualities that you can find in a business partner are ones that you don’t possess. If you are a spatial or creative thinker, you may want to choose a business partner who is logical and detail-oriented. It is also important that you have complementary personalities to some degree. Business partnerships are like a marriage, and it will be an adjustment adapting to your partner’s personality, style, and habits. Be prepared for some degree of letdown following the “honeymoon period, and when this happens, the best thing to do is be respectful and see the other person’s side.

Be Careful Mixing Business with Pleasure

There is an old adage that you should never do business with friends. However, friends seem like the obvious choice when choosing a law partner. Establishing a partnership with a friend assumes important things that are crucial in the success of a partnership are already in place in your relationship: you share the same ethical standards, you trust one another, and you enjoy each other’s personality. There is a right way and a wrong way to establish a partnership with friends. It is important that you communicate expectations clearly and effectively up front. Although it might not be comfortable to confront your friend, it might be in the best interest of the partnership, and is easier if expectations have been laid out before the issue arises.

Negotiate a Formal Agreement

The two most common reasons partnerships collapse are failure to develop a proper business plan/strategy and the absence of a formal, written partnership agreement. Written agreements establish and define mutual interests and expectations, the roles and responsibilities of each partner, and establish accountability. Ground rules should be established at the outset of a partnership as to how to address and resolve issues. Having agreements in writing at the inception of the business lets each partner have a clear understanding of what the expectations are regarding any issues that may arise.

Finding the right partner can be difficult, as can developing a successful law practice once you’ve entered into a partnership. Fortunately, these days, with services like Legal Services Link, you can do it quicker and easier than ever. Visit the site to sign up for your free attorney profile and start developing new clients from your office, at the click of a button.  

More Resources For Growing Your Law Practice

Get More Clients With Legal Services Link

Create your FREE profile and get listed in our attorney directory to start receiving email notifications of relevant legal projects.

Posted - 09/19/2016