What Five Attributes Do You Look for in an Associate in Consideration of Partnership in Your Firm?

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Attorney at Law Magazine, May 2011

Ed BullEd Bull, President, Burch & Cracchiolo — I have been told that Burch & Cracciolo has a unique personality - but I have nothing to compare it to since I have been here my entire legal career. Many of my B&C colleagues share that career path. It is the people - both lawyers and non-lawyers - who make our firm a great place to work. To maintain our positive work environment, we take great care in selecting shareholders - be it a B&C “lifer” like me or a shining star who is relatively new to our firm. In addition to the usual objective factors, such as years in practice, billables, collections, accomplishments and so on, from my perspective keys to gaining the position of trust that we call “partner” also lies in characteristics such as:

1. First we need to be able to answer “yes to the question, “Would I be proud to call this person my partner?” If we are going to be successful for the long run, we need to be able to feel comfortable with our partners as people and be comfortable calling him or her a member of our firm.

2. There is no question that legal expertise and excellence is a priority. We wouldn’t consider someone for shareholder if he or she had not demonstrated top-notch legal abilities.

3. It is often said that people hire a lawyer, not a law firm. Perhaps that is true, but so much of practicing law is team work that we must analyze if a candidate for shareholder is a team player. Is he or she willing to do what it takes to make our firm and clients successful, or is this a person who is only concerned about his or her needs, career or practice area?

4. Being a team player extends to the client arena as well. Is this person someone who represents the firm well with clients and in the community? Is he or she willing to do what it takes to well-serve other lawyers’ clients and to bring in business for both themselves and others? What has he or she done, in his or her own way, to promote our firm and make it better?

5. Our firm was established over 40 years ago, and we are proud of our reputation in the community and the profession. Every person who aspires to be a shareholder with B&C must be a person who is respected among his or her peers and in the community at large.

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