top of page

Dear Santa ... from Managing Partner

fishing boat near a beautiful island

Dear Santa

I've been very good this year, ask the equity partners.

I would like a big tuna. Not just a good lateral hire partner but a stand out A player in our markets. Someone who is a magnet for better clients, better work and better people.

That one in twenty or thirty candidates who encapsulates why some firms deliver sustainable, organic, compound growth year-on-year … because they have disproportionately more of them.

Thanks in advance! PS. My stocking is the third from the left, and feel free to grab a bottle of champagne

Dear Managing Partner

Good effort, but every Managing Partner wants them – and many have bigger brands, platforms and better champagne than you. So you will have to work smarter. Life’s a pitch as they say, so I’ve left you some fishing gear and some basic instructions to follow. Good luck!


1. Go fishing – the best partners almost never hit the contingent market so you will have to search them out

2. Focus on the up and coming with ambition and something to prove – fully grown A players are usually out of reach

3. Use a fish finder – the up and coming are often hiding out of sight so you will need the reach of an agent

4. Use the right fish finder – an agent who knows the market, has the motivation and sales skills to get you the right meetings and the ability to tease out the hot buttons for you to press when you do meet candidates. So be very careful to select the right agent and then invest heavily in that relationship - this is your first challenge above all others

5. Choose the right bait and use plenty of it – a compelling narrative spelling out why you are different and why it should matter to them; that they would be mad not to at least meet you

6. Don’t be too prescriptive or focused – you are searching for a type of person for the long-term, not just for a role; for the right person you can create the right role and commercial justification; so you need lots of rods in the water

7. Make it your most important and never-ending personal project – people buy people and they have to trust and buy into you personally and your vision

8. Hone your seduction skills – they have to buy you first and that means listening hard, individually tailoring your sell to their wants and needs and then building a business plan together; you can work out in your own time whether you are also buying them

9. Be patient but keep on fishing – it can take a long time for the planets to align

10. When you get a bite be prepared to go out on a limb for them – they are an individual and you are a firm so the risk is primarily on them; it will never work out as you planned it but if you’ve hooked the right character then, given time and your support, they will deliver for you

PS. Actually, on reflection … just adopt this for all partner lateral hiring: the more you practice, the luckier you’ll get


bottom of page