Partnership is and has been a valued professional goal.  I always thought of it as a positive until a practice manager told me that it’s not always the best thing because a practice may be in the red.  Therefore, it’s important to see the financial reports of the practice.

Unfortunately, partnership terms are rarely discussed at the outset when you’re joining a practice.  Practices don’t typically divulge this information because they want to wait a few years to see if you and the practice are a good match.  Typically, asking for partnership terms while you’re interviewing is like asking for a marriage certificate while you’re just dating.

All that being said, you should try to get your employment agreement to include the timetable and terms of partnership.  You should know and have in writing what the purchase price is based on, how it will be paid, the percentages associated with the buy-in and the terms of a buy-out.  Sometimes there’s not a buy-in but instead the salary is lower. Partnership also involves responsibilities such as voting power.  If you don’t have voting rights, then the partnership is not a true partnership.

All of what’s necessary to be on sound footing for the partnership terms may be a bit touchy to address with the practice.  Here’s where your lawyer can come into play and ask for more information and question any unclear points.