June 21, 2011

Managing Partner Sample Job Description

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December 2008 Issue | Volume 34 Number 8 | Web Only Archives
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Managing Partner Sample Job Description

TITLE: Managing Partner

REPORTS TO: Executive Committee and ultimately the Partnership

DIRECT REPORTS: Administrative Assistant, Most senior Administrator (e.g. Executive Director or COO), Professional Resources Director


The scope and reporting relationships depend on the size and complexity of the firm. In a mid-sized firm, the Managing Partner (MP) works with the Executive Director, the Profession Resources Director, Practice Group Leaders, Committees and with other key roles in the Firm that impact client service, morale, administration, the growth and integration of the firm and the development of professionals and staff.

The MP’s in most firms are producers of work, managers of people and consensus builders. They are typically elected and serve at the pleasure of the partnership. MP’s should have the following leadership approach:

  1. Establishing Direction: Develops the vision and strategies to achieve that vision; sets and communicates the long term direction of the firm and ensures that the short term goals, objectives and tasks are aligned and adjusted in anticipation and in response to outside forces and internal changes that impact achievement of the firm’s vision and strategies.
  2. Alignment and Commitment: Builds consensus throughout the partnership and gains commitment behind the vision and direction. The MP ensures alignment of people; that partners’ have input, are heard and that opinions are considered through strong communication and effective listening skills and through effective mentoring.
  3. Ensuring Execution: Is accountable for effecting change and execution of the firm’s strategies through the activities and priorities of the Executive Committee and the Management Team. Holds people accountable and works with them to ensure that people are doing the right things.
  4. Setting a Personal Example: The MP provides a positive personal example through words and behavior. The MP displays personal integrity, supports the professionals at all levels in the firm; takes responsibility for his or her actions and holds others accountable. Fosters a learning organization where mistakes are identified, owned and where the firm and its professionals learn from them.


In a mid-sized firm the MP role is not full time. It is expected that the MP role will require xxx hours per year, which is understood by the other partners of the firm.




MPs typically have the following broad areas of responsibility:

  1. Establishing Direction and Planning - Obtain partner input and build consensus toward a strategic direction and the development of strategic planning objectives. Communicate and oversee implementation of approved strategic objectives.
  2. Professionals – Works with Professional Resources & Development to support the recruitment and development initiatives in the firm. Supports participation in firm events. Works with the firm’s General Counsel and/or conflicts committee to resolve any conflicts of interest.
  3. Public Relations – Presents a face and voice for the firm to the media, the professional regulatory bodies and others.
  4. Motivation & Morale – Creates a positive work environment that encourages teamwork, cooperation and collaboration between and among offices and groups.
  5. Administration & Staff - Through the Executive Director and functional area management, ensures that administrative support is carried out in an effective and efficient manner.
  6. Committees - Recommends the creation of all standing committees required for the administration of the firm, including chairs and members of such committees.
  7. Compensation – Plays an active role in the compensation process. Together with the [Compensation Committee] interviews all partners and makes compensation submissions on these partners for their consideration and inclusion in the compensation recommendations submitted to the [Compensation Committee]
  8. Policies & Records – Develops, in conjunction with the senior Administrative staff and others as applicable, and also implements these policies, systems, and procedures for the firm and ensures they are followed by partners, associates and staff.
  9. Reporting – Provides regular reporting to the partners dealing with finances, growth issues, management issues, and the implementation of business strategies.
  10. Authority - The MP shall have the broad authority to carry out these duties, except where specifically limited by the Executive Committee or the Partnership as a whole.


A track record of competence in legal practices (having earned the credibility of his/her colleagues) as well as in the following areas.

  • Analysis & Problem Solving
  • Business Acumen
  • Client Service
  • Communication
  • Decision Making and Judgment
  • Listening
  • Managing Time
  • Managing Work
  • Team work
  • Working within the Firm

Note: This is a sample job description and must be customized to fit the unique structure and governance model in each firm.

© Phoenix Legal Inc. October 6, 2008


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