Practice Management

Law firm leaders look for these 4 traits in partners

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What one trait is most important for a law firm partner?

Law360 journalists asked that question when they spoke with law firm leaders over the past year as part of an ongoing interview series.

A large book of business and legal expertise were important. But four personal qualities stood out.

They are integrity, good communication skills, sound judgment and a collaborative spirit.

A collaborative spirit was the quality most often mentioned in law firm interviews. Law firm leaders said a good collaborator works to better the law firm.

“Separate from substantive expertise, I think ambition for the law firm is an essential trait for a law firm partner,” said Reed Smith global managing partner Alexander Thomas in a Law360 interview. “We want them to be ambitious for the teams they lead, for themselves, but for the firm first.”

Ken Young, a principal at recruiting firm Young Mayden, told Law360 that he wasn’t surprised by the four traits that rose to the top.

“The ‘perfect partner’ keeps valuable clients happy and returning to the firm with new and profitable assignments; creates no internal issues with other partners, associates or staff; offers constructive solutions to firm problems; and interacts professionally and respectfully with lawyers at other law firms, judges and the community at large,” said Young, the former head of the labor and employment group at Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough.

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