Here is a list of penetrating questions to assess whether an existing senior associate should be made a partner.
- What does being a partner at this firm mean to you? Why?
- What do you see as your principal challenges in your first year as a partner?
On Generating Fees
- How will you generate a minimum of [X] in fees in your first year?
- How much of the [X] will be taken from existing partners and how much is extra?
- What value of instructions came to you directly last year and this year?
- Have you generated fees from clients that were not existing firm clients? If so, how much and how did you do this?
- What could be done to improve the profitability of your workstream? Probe use of technology?
On Business Development
- How would you describe your practice? How is it changing?
- How do you keep abreast of market developments?
- What clients are you focusing on and why?
- What business development have you done?
- What are the key selling messages for your practice area? How are we different to competitors?
- Tell us about a difficult client situation and how you addressed it?
On Team Development
- What are our challenges in motivating associates? What HR policies would you change to improve morale or motivation?
- What contributions have you made to any HR initiatives (eg recruitment)?
Tips for Senior Associates Being Interviewed
- Rehearse your answers – a lot!
- Before you go into the room, take some deep breaths, be tall (ie lift your head a bit) and envisage yourself in a positive environment (a visioning technique used by sports professionals).
- Walk in positively and confidently. Smile, but not inanely. Sit forward with hands on the table.
- Give yourself a few seconds to think before answering. That’s allowed!
- Try to structure your answers using ‘there are 3 aspects…’, ‘there are pros and cons…’, or tell a story starting with what the situation was, what you did and ending with what impact your action had. Use ‘I’ not ‘we’.
- Be honest!
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