Making partner is about more than just putting in your time. You’ve got to be strategic. Carrie Heller, president and founder of The Heller Group Legal and Executive Search, suggests these five smart moves:

  1. Build your book of business: Don’t solely depend on partners to feed you work — aim to be self-sustaining. Go to networking events, take prospects out for lunch or drinks, or cold-call potential clients.
  2. Find a champion: Find a senior partner who has influence to be your champion. If she likes you, she’ll introduce you to her clients and teach you how to get some of your own.
  3. Be visible: Think of yourself as a mini-corporation and build visibility through social media, writing and speaking engagements that can position you as an expert.
  4. Bill, bill, bill (and bring in business): Work hard and maintain high billable hours. But billing high isn’t enough to make partner in most firms — you also have to demonstrate the ability to bring in new business.
  5. Think beyond bill, bill, bill: Contribute to the firm in meaningful ways. Mentor junior lawyers, display leadership potential or volunteer on boards and committees.

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