They are not always close personal bonds, but they require a strong working relationship. With Covid restrictiosn lifting in most of the country, many people may be looking for a change or a fresh start. If you're looking to start a practice with a fellow lawyer, here are some qualities you may want to look for.
Partners should have an established working relationship
The best business partners have a long history of working together, so they have common understandings and each recognise the others work patterns. The closer they have worked together, the better. People who get excited about a business idea and form a legal partnership too quickly may find unexpected and fatal disagreements that they have not envisioned and have no tried and true means of resolving.
Partners should share an understanding of corporate climate and vision
Things like the business plan and corporate climate challenges have to be resolved between the partners so they share a common vision. Often people in business pay little heed to the intangibles of business, thinking they are not important. However, many business partnerships become inoperable because partners start working at cross-purposes. They disagree about business culture and values and their disagreements can cause inconsistencies, small conspiracies and destructive groupings in the staff. They may disagree about how their business fits into the legal community and into their client or customer population and develop inconsistencies in the way the company operates.
Partners need to discuss hard matters
The partners cannot be reluctant to engage in hard conversations. They must be able to discuss money, equity issues, the structure of profits, the division of responsibility, and investment. Many partnerships tend to skip over uncomfortable topics until they become crucial and create maximum stress. The partners may begin pushing for an unfair division of assets, with one partner eventually diminishing the participation of the other.
Partners must be able to accept natural role differences
Partners must recognise the business personalities they represent and make appropriate adjustments in the roles they play. Almost all partnerships devolve into a division of labor. For example, one partner becomes the visionary leader and the other may be the one who gets things done on a daily basis. From this recognition, a certain tacit idea should arise about which partner will have the final say to resolve disputes, who will be a kind of first among equals. In some partnerships departmentalism eventually evolves, so that in one kind of decision, one partner prevails, in another kind of decision, the other partner prevails.
Partners must be able to adjust to differences in lifestyle and family obligation
Partners have to be able to recognise and make allowances for the real circumstances each lives in. One partner may have to devote more time to family than the other. One partner may be more financially flexible than the other. Unless these inequities are recognised and appropriate adjustments are made in advance, they may become a source of friction that could disrupt the way the partnership works.
Partners are best when they have compatible additive skills
Choosing partners often means looking for people whose training and skills complement one another. Often when people have the same skills and education they find they need to reach outside the partnership to fill important skill gaps. That can be costly and inefficient. Synergy is important in a partnership. Synergy is generated when there is a spread of skills so that more fields are covered and people learn from one another. In addition, different training and orientation from different schools often bring different working styles. Partners are best when they have different but compatible working styles and are open to voicing their own and listening to others opinions.