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K&L Gates Helps Pave Clearer Path to Equity Partnership by Launching Innovative, Multifaceted Partner Progression Program

13 June 2016

Pittsburgh - For income partners at many law firms, the process of advancing to equity partner often can be an uncertain — and anything but transparent — one. In the latest demonstration of its longstanding commitment to developing strong leaders within the legal profession, global law firm K&L Gates LLP has launched a pioneering new program providing greater clarity and transparency around that process. Aimed at fostering a firm ownership ethic among income partners, cultivating future firm leaders, and enhancing the opportunities for income partners to be elected to equity partnership, K&L Gates’ Path to Equity Partnership Program (PEPP) takes a comprehensive approach to developing the firm’s income partners, integrating key competencies that include leadership, client development, and practice and business management.

“At K&L Gates, we take an intergenerational view of our talent,” said Peter J. Kalis, K&L Gates’ Chairman and Global Managing Partner. “We see our income partners as the future leaders of our law firm, and find it critical to invest in their development.”

One of the chief components of PEPP is the establishment of a Leadership College program that will serve as a regional forum in the Americas, Europe, Middle East, and Asia Pacific for newly promoted income partners to learn from and interact with members of K&L Gates’ executive committee, who will serve as the college’s faculty. The first Leadership College event for newly promoted U.S. income partners is slated for next month in Dallas.

In addition, an Income Partner Advisory Committee has been formed to advise firm leaders on the program’s successes and other topics of interest to income partners globally. A representative body of income partners selected by regional managing partners, this committee includes more than a dozen income partners from across the firm’s global platform, including lawyers from Europe, Asia Pacific, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the Middle East.

Among the other initiatives being implemented in conjunction with PEPP in the coming months are: 

  • a reengineering of the firm’s promotion-to-partner process, including an enhanced analysis that incorporates formal input from firm practice area leaders, practice group coordinators, and office administrative partners
  • the creation of development plan tools to help individual income partners assess their strengths; identify personal, professional, and business goals; and establish clearly defined steps in their growth towards equity partnership 
  • financial counseling meetings with newly promoted income partners regarding individual finances and what it means to be partner, including the financial implications of being a partner and how best to prepare to meet those obligations, and
  • a series of developmental videos that range in topic from the firm’s global vision, values, and strategy to expectations for income partners; advanced cross-selling; and leadership, citizenship, and teamwork; to understanding the financial aspects of firm partnership

“We believe this program can be a game-changer,” said Craig Budner, K&L Gates’ Global Integration and Strategic Growth Partner. “Too often in law firms, someone makes partner and they are left to figure things out on their own. This program affords our lawyers the tools and training they need to be successful owners of the firm. I look forward to working with our global Chief Human Resources Officer on this important initiative.”

K&L Gates comprises approximately 2,000 lawyers globally who practice in fully integrated offices located on five continents. The firm represents leading multinational corporations, growth and middle-market companies, capital markets participants and entrepreneurs in every major industry group as well as public sector entities, educational institutions, philanthropic organizations and individuals. 
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