A successful law practice consisting of two or more law partners needs to have a strong foundation. A law partnership, like other business partnerships, requires some of the following principles to be followed:
1. Familiarity. You should only partner with someone you have had experience dealing with in the past. A partnership is often compared to a marriage. You will be spending a great deal of time with your law partner, thus your partner should be someone you can trust and someone you can get along with.
2. Partnership Agreement. It’s essential to have a well thought out and comprehensive partnership agreement. Even though you are a lawyer yourself, its a good idea to hire legal counsel to draw up a good and enforceable partnership agreement. The partnership agreement should address some of the following items:
- Duration of partnership
- Capital contributions
- Method of settling disputes
- Rules for withdrawal of partnership funds
- How does one exit the partnership?
- How are new partners brought into the partnership?
- What happens when a partner dies or becomes incapacitated?
- How is the value of the partnership determined?
- What are grounds for expelling a partner from the partnership?
- How are profits and costs to be allocated among the partners?
3. Complimentary Skills. Partners should be complimentary to one another. For a successful law practice, you need a variety of different skills and experiences. When selecting a partner, try to find someone with different skills than yourself.
4. Shared Vision. Its important for partners to share a vision for the firm. This shared vision can be formed after the partnership is formed, but its a good idea to discuss your vision for the firm prior to finalizing a partnership.