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Behind every really successful law firm is a really successful managing partner who excels at providing leadership-and who understands that practicing law and managing a law firm are two different things. At too many firms, being a superstar lawyer is a prime prerequisite to becoming MP-regardless of whether the firm bestows its leader's mantle by election, appointment, anointment, or some other mysterious or painful process. But, unfortunately, the simple fact is that superstar lawyers don't necessarily make superstar MPs.
The basket of skills that make you a great lawyer is actually pretty different from the basket of skills that make you a terrific MP. So what is in the successful MP's basket? We have the answers for newly appointed and veteran MPs alike.
This issue is full of insightful articles that highlight the skills and characteristics essential to firm management, how MPs need to communicate to establish a vision and get partner buy-in, who they need to build relationships with to get the job done, and the various other tasks and to-dos that they must tackle. And we are thrilled to include in this issue some fantastic firsthand advice from a diverse cast of firm leaders who have risen above the crowd. (See the Q&As, as well as the invaluable pointers in this issue.) You'll be struck by the fact that most of the comments made by the MPs of very large global firms are equally relevant to those who manage small firms and branch offices.
All and all, you'll find tons of sage advice for those who are managing partners, and for those who're aspiring to become one. But these pages are equally full of essential advice for anyone who wants to succeed in the practice of law. You will see the world of the law firm from the perspective of management and you will learn how to measure up in their eyes-key for moving up within a firm, including from associate to partner and, if your career path takes you that way, from partner to practice group leader or even to becoming an MP yourself.
Many thanks and kudos go to our special issue editor Merrilyn Astin Tarlton, who also wrote our lead feature article. Much credit for ideas on content, corralling authors and making this issue happen belongs to her. Merrilyn was editor-in-chief of this magazine for nine years and clearly hasn't forgotten a thing about how to put together a top-drawer issue!
Dan Pinnington , Editor-in-Chief