Ensuring Smooth Transitions for Lawyers and their Firms
Sandra J Boyer, Hermann Knott, Susan Saltonstall Duncan, Jaap Bosman, August Aquila, Pam Loch, Veronica Mann, Shelley Dunstone, Ronnie Fox
A successful succession encompasses two core elements: transitioning firm management to a new generation, and transferring client relationships.
A successful succession encompasses two core elements: transitioning firm management to a new generation, and transferring client relationships. This title provides guidance not only on how these two transitions can be achieved effectively, from the perspectives of both individual partners and the firm, but also on the plethora of issues involved in preparing for the departure of retiring partners and transitioning in new leadership, including compensation, the role of diversity and inclusion and financial considerations. It also considers situations where more specific and specialised plans may be required, such as managing the succession of a rainmaker or a founding partner.
A strong and effective succession plan ensures that clients are retained over the long-term, retiring partners leave optimistic and satisfied, future leaders are in place and prepared for their roles, and the firm continues to grow and flourish. The shift to a more remote work environment has also made the institutionalising of processes such as succession planning even more important. By providing a thorough understanding of its many elements, this title explains how effective succession planning can be implemented and ensure smooth leadership and client transitions, securing and enhancing the current and future success of partners and their firms.
Table of Contents
|About the authors||xi|
|Chapter 1: Creating and implementing a law firm succession plan||1|
|What is a succession plan?||1|
|The importance of a succession plan||1|
|Elements of firm management transition||2|
|Elements of transitioning firm clients||6|
|Chapter 2: Succession planning considerations for the senior lawyer||11|
|Types of succession||12|
|The importance of timing||12|
|Impact of the size of the firm||14|
|Preparing the next leaders||15|
|Conclusion and outlook||15|
|Chapter 3: Holding on to clients when senior partners retire||17|
|Establish a uniform policy for retirement and succession||18|
|Identify clients potentially at risk and assess relationship breadth and depth||18|
|Gain better knowledge of clients||19|
|Talk to each client to gauge client satisfaction, loyalty, and any concerns||20|
|Carefully select client relationship successors||20|
|Put a client development and transition plan and process in place||22|
|Monitor progress to make sure the transition plan is working effectively||24|
|Client transition checklist||24|
|Chapter 4: Succession of rainmakers||27|
|Law firm royalty||27|
|Real rainmakers and fake rainmakers||28|
|Hostages and Stockholm Syndrome||29|
|Santa’s little helpers||31|
|Rainmaker succession, hands-on||34|
|Chapter 5: How to compensate retiring and retired equity partners||37|
|Key partnership agreement issues||38|
|Creating options for retired partners||42|
|The successor partner||45|
|Make it happen||45|
|Chapter 6: Diversity considerations in succession planning: future-proofing law firms through diversity||47|
|Issues facing businesses around lack of diversity||48|
|How can businesses address these issues?||49|
|Benefits to business and future-proofing in an increasingly diversity-led culture||52|
|Chapter 7: Financial aspects of succession planning: protection and retirement considerations||55|
|Communication and contracts||56|
|Financial planning for retirement||56|
|Death and incapacity of key players||59|
|Chapter 8: Succession planning for sole practitioners||63|
|Thinking of retiring?||63|
|Will someone want to buy your practice?||63|
|Options for selling your practice||64|
|What assets can you sell?||64|
|What is goodwill, and what is it worth?||65|
|Options available to a seller||67|
|How to maximize your prospects of selling your practice||69|
|Chapter 9: Why lawyers and law firms find it difficult to deal with retirement and succession: overcoming the obstacles||71|
|About Globe Law and Business||79|
This book is excellent in raising the many issues around retirement and succession planning.
Chief executive and founder, Next-Up
Succession Planning: Ensuring Smooth Transitions for Lawyers and their Firms provides the invaluable perspectives of nine distinguished experts and practitioners on various aspects of this challenging topic.
former chairman of leading law firm headquartered in Scotland, NXD and consultant
A very helpful guide.
The Law Society Gazette
Succession Planning is a volume that belongs on the shelves not only of law firm leaders, but also of lawyers seeking to chart their careers in a thoughtful and deliberate manner. This book speaks eloquently to institutions about strategies for their long-term survival, and to individuals about facing the future with confidence.
Robert C Bata
WarwickPlace Legal, LLC
Succession planning may be regarded almost as a contradiction in terms at some law firms, but this concise and well-written book shows why that is such a mistake.
AUGUST J AQUILA
August J Aquila, CEO of AQUILA Global Advisors, LLC, specializes in compensation plan design, mergers and acquisitions, partner accountability issues, and succession planning for professional service firms. He has advised PSFs for more than 30 years. He is the author of more than ten books on professional service firm management, marketing, pricing and partnership issues. He has worked with clients in India, the United Kingdom, Canada and the US and has written hundreds of articles. He was a former partner in a top 50 accounting firm in Chicago, Illinois and an executive with American Express Tax and Business Services, Inc.
Jaap Bosman is an award-winning strategy consultant and an investor. After having spent 15 years in legal practice, he founded TGO Consulting, a highly successful consulting boutique that works globally with elite law firms and premier legal departments. Jaap is a seasoned consultant and widely considered one of the world’s thought leaders on the business of law.
His achievements have been recognized in 2013 by the Financial Times with the first ever Innovative Lawyers Award for International Strategy. He is also a winner of the Thomson Reuters Excellence in Legal Marketing Award.
Jaap has published three books and many articles: Death of a Law Firm (2015). This book is about the business of law and the human dynamics that drive it. Death of a Law Firm has become an influential global bestseller.
Data & Dialogue – a relationship redefined (2019); co-authored by Vincent Cordo. This book is about the relationship between law firms and clients. It introduces revolutionary new concepts such as the Value Matrix© and the Creation-Production Divide-Concept©.
A New Dawn (2020). This book outlines in hands-on practical terms how the legal industry could emerge better and stronger after the COVID-19 induced economic crisis.
He regularly contributes articles to leading publications around the world.
SANDRA J BOYER
Sandra J Boyer is the founder and president of Legus International. Described as “a key visionary in the legal industry”, she works closely with the Advisory Board to provide forward-thinking education, management, administration, and marketing programs that help the organization go above and beyond the traditional network model.
She is the co-author of Associate Retention: Keeping Our Best and Brightest (June 2002), and The Effective Associate Training Program, Revised Edition (2006). Both books are published by the American Bar Association’s Center for Continuing Legal Education. She is the co-author of The Survival Guide to Implementing Effective Law Firm Management Strategies, published by the Law Practice Division of the American Bar Association (2015). She is also published internationally regarding timely law firm management topics. For almost 30 years, Sandra has consulted with small to mid-size law firms in all areas of law firm management. In 2003, Sandra was inducted as a Fellow of the College of Law Practice Management in recognition of her outstanding contributions and sustained commitment to the highest standards of professionalism in law practice management. She received the Olivet College 1844 Award for outstanding commitment and success in her professional life as well as her commitment to Olivet College and its goals and strategies.
Shelley Dunstone is an Australian lawyer and the founder and principal of Legal Circles, a consultancy practice that helps lawyers achieve their business and career aspirations. Shelley is a past chair of the Senior Lawyers Committee of the International Bar Association. She was admitted to legal practice in 1981 and is a former law firm partner. She also holds qualifications in marketing. She provides coaching and professional development services for lawyers throughout Australia and internationally.
Ronnie Fox of London law firm, Fox & Partners, specializes in the law and practice relating to employment and partnership. In 1998 he founded and became the first chairman of the Association of Partnership Practitioners, which helped win recognition for partnership law as a distinct area of expertise. Major independent guides to lawyers and law firms have said, “Unparalleled in his experience”, Ronnie Fox “has seen it all and done it all many times before, and knows the path of least resistance out of every situation”. In relation to employment law, “Ronnie Fox commands a strong reputation for his work on senior executive departures and restrictive covenant matters”. Ronnie’s name continues to command instant recognition in the partnership sphere as an “admirable, vastly experienced practitioner who never loses his energy”, and a “perfect choice for major issues and big, bet-the-partnership disputes”.
Ronnie has written a book on termination payments, edited another on Partner Retirement in Law Firms, and contributed chapters to six other law books. Dozens of his articles have been published. He is a past chairman of the IBA Senior Lawyers’ Committee.
Law firms and individual solicitors turn to Ronnie for advice, particularly lawyers whose love of practicing law makes difficult any meaningful discussion of retirement and succession.
Hermann Knott is an experienced transactional and dispute resolution lawyer based in Cologne, Germany. He is a member of both the German and the New York Bar and a partner with KUNZ Lawyers, where he leads the international practice. After attending law schools in Germany, Switzerland, and the US, Hermann started his professional career with a New York law firm where he was involved in US investments in the post iron-curtain world. After some time with a German internationally-oriented firm practicing corporate litigation he was a founding member of Andersen Legal, the law firm associated with the global Arthur Andersen organization. Aside from his transactional practice, Hermann has developed a focus on alternative dispute resolution, i.e. mediation and arbitration. He also has considerable experience in law firm management issues, having been the co-chair of that Committee of the IBA and the ABA International Section.
Pam Loch is the managing director of Loch Associates Group and has been a specialist, award-winning employment law solicitor for over 20 years. Unusually, she is a dual qualified solicitor, with degrees in accountancy and economics as well as law. She has combined her business experience and her legal expertise to set up a group of businesses that includes Loch Employment Law and HR Advise Me. Alongside her team of lawyers, HR consultants and wellbeing experts, she provides strategic and creative solutions for clients, managing the tougher side of their business operations for them so that they can sleep at night, knowing they are in good hands.
Pam is a seasoned commentator on the TV and radio, regularly called upon to discuss employment law and HR issues as they emerge. As well as contributing to books, she writes articles for many publications and media outlets including International Workplace, People Management and HR Director. She is also ranked as a Leading Individual in employment law and her firm is a Leading Firm too.
Over the last 30 years, Veronica Mann has built up vast expertise in all aspects of wealth creation, including retirement and protection. This, coupled with her in-depth knowledge of lifestyle planning, has helped her clients to secure their own financial independence.
This is particularly important for people going through life-changing events – such as retirement, bereavement, or divorce. Veronica focuses on helping her clients understand what they want from life. She also helps them to answer the crucial question, “Will I run out of money?”. Knowing this enables her to develop plans so her clients know what needs to be done in order to achieve and maintain a comfortable and financially secure position, particularly in their later years. Veronica is both a chartered and certified financial planner and an accredited member of the Society of Later Life Advisers. Prior to this she has been the owner of a family company which developed a unique road safety product, a chartered surveyor, and director in her own independent financial practice.
SUSAN SALTONSTALL DUNCAN
Susan Saltonstall Duncan is the founder and president of RainMaking Oasis. For over 35 years she has provided management consulting and coaching services to more than 160 law firms, professional service organizations, and hundreds of individual professionals.
Her consulting firm works with firms, practice groups, and individual lawyers on firm and practice/sector strategy, succession planning, client relationship management and development, client feedback and needs assessment programs, leadership coaching, business development training, coaching and strategy, lateral integration strategies, firm values, visions and culture and innovation.
Susan has served in in-house roles including director of professional development, director of business development and as chief strategy officer for a Global 25 law firm. She was inducted as a fellow into the College of Law Practice Management (COLPM) and into the Legal Marketing Association’s Hall of Fame. She has widely published in legal publications, is regularly quoted in the press, and speaks for national and international associations. She is the author of Building Enduring Client Loyalty: A Guide for Lawyers and Their Firms (Globe Law and Business, 2021).