How do you know you are really on Partner track?

Having worked a number of Partner roles over the past year I wanted to discuss how an individual can tell if they really are on partner track.  Many firms will speak about Partnership in a vague and promissory way. Often there is a genuine desire to promote you but sometimes it is an effort to keep you in a holding pattern as they would rather have you than not, but with no real intention of making you Partner. If you are unsure of your position there are a few things you can do to get a more concrete idea of your standing within the firm.

  • Have a direct conversation with your employer.

The purpose of this conversation will be to get some clarity on time frames to be made Partner and what you need to do within that period in order to achieve the promotion. Are they willing to commit to an agreed time-frame? Are the targets realistic?

  • Analyse your competition.

Are you one of a number of people on Partner track? Are you ahead of them in the curve? How many Partner positions are available? If you are one of 5 Directors but with only 1 Partner position available are you the one that is going to get it? If not, how long will it be till the next position becomes available?

  • Assess your own value.

Would it be a major headache for your current firm if you left? Would a number of key clients follow you if you moved? If the answer is yes then you are in a strong position. If not and the relationships are with somebody else are you putting any pressure on your firm to make you partner?

  • Track record of promotion.

Another thing to be analysed is when the last time the firm promoted to Partner. If Partner promotions are few and far between it might be an indicator that the firm doesn’t really wish to open the doors.

Depending on the answers to these questions you will have a better idea of whether you are better off staying put, moving to a new opportunity or even going out on your own.

For a further conversation on this topic please do not hesitate to contact me on 01 531 2424 or email to