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Groups to offer August seminars on attorney retirement

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There’s an old joke in the legal profession that attorneys never retire.

So the Indiana State Bar Association and Indiana Judges and Lawyers Assistance Program have partnered to present three conferences in late August about retirement preparation: “What’s Next … Planning for the Retirement that YOU Want.”

Maryann Williams, director of section services for the ISBA, recalled the retirement party of an attorney she attended when she was still practicing law. She remembered that no one seemed to know how to plan the retirement party because no one remembered going to one before.

While that’s not to say all attorneys should retire at a certain age or should keep working forever, Terry Harrell, JLAP executive director, said she has noticed an increase in calls concerning retirement.

More often than not, those calls were from colleagues who thought their fellow attorneys should retire before disciplinary actions were filed or worse.

In some cases in which an older attorney is having trouble handling his or her workload, it isn’t necessarily because of issues related to age but could be a reaction from medications or depression that can possibly be addressed through treatment, she said.

But more often than not, she said, the attorney doesn’t have treatment options if he or she is past what other professions consider a normal retirement age of mid-60s to early 70s, she said.

Terry Harrell mug Harrell

So Harrell spoke with Williams and the ISBA to determine if there was a way to offer help to attorneys in their 40s, 50s, and early 60s, while they still had ample time to plan for retirement. She considered a program in Oregon to be a model for the Indiana program.

At first, she and Williams talked about doing a session at the Solo and Small Firm Conference but quickly realized it was important enough to be its own event.

In late August, those plans will come to fruition with three scheduled all-day seminars that will take place in Evansville, Indianapolis, and a yet to be decided location in Lake County, making it accessible to many attorneys around the state. Depending on how these sessions go, Williams said more might be planned in other locations in the future. The sessions will also be modified based on the evaluation forms and what participants will ask future conferences to include.

Williams said the conferences were planned with help from the General Practice Solo and Small Firm, Senior Lawyers, Business Law, Litigation, and Probate Trust & Real Property sections.

Final details, as well as the registration forms, will be available on the ISBA’s website, www.inbar.org, in mid-June.

Williams said she has already received calls from attorneys who’d like to be added to the list of interested participants. She said each venue can hold up to 50 participants, and admission will be $100 for ISBA members, and $150 for non-members. She suggested interested attorneys sign up soon after the registration information is posted.

Included in the price of the seminar is a copy of the book, “Lawyers at Midlife: Laying the Groundwork for the Road Ahead.”

One of the book’s authors, Pat Funk, will speak at the seminars. Funk is an independent financial educator who isn’t trying to sell a specific product but helps educate individuals about how best to plan for smooth financial transitions for retirement.

Financial planning isn’t the only goal of the conference.

Harrell said she’d heard from attorneys “who did everything they needed to in terms of financial planning and retired at an appropriate age, and they got depressed because they did almost nothing but practice law. At the end of their career, they didn’t have hobbies or a social life. Lawyers don’t do well after they energetically practiced law however many hours a week and then have nothing to do.”

The conference will address this issue, including why it’s important to have something to do, whether that’s golf, fishing, dancing, gardening, or another hobby that if they’re already doing it before they retire, they’ll be able to do it more after they retire.

For some people, she said a retirement plan might include doing some legal work – maybe a few hours a week – even if they’re no longer practicing full time. Or if attorneys want to retire completely, there’s no need for them to continue practicing law if they don’t want.

The sessions will also address how attorneys can successfully close their practices or hand over their client files to other attorneys when they retire.

A best practices guide to the surrogate attorney rule, which has recently been revised and was officially made available at the Solo and Small Firm Conference, will also be discussed at the retirement seminars.

There are other tips when it comes to attorneys and retirement planning, depending on the attorney’s preference.

For instance, Harrell recalled a seminar dealing with retirement issues she did a few years ago.

“A lawyer in the room said he would ask three or four of his best friends to promise to tell him when it’s time to retire. He said, ‘If one said it, I might not listen to him, but if three or four told me, then I probably would take it seriously.’”

For more information, visit inbar.org, or contact Maryann Williams at (800) 266-2581 or mwilliams@inbar.org.•

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  1. A traditional parade of attorneys? Really Evansville? Y'all need to get out more. When is the traditional parade of notaries? Nurses? Sanitation workers? Pole dancers? I gotta wonder, do throngs of admiring citizens gather to laud these marching servants of the constitution? "Show us your billing records!!!" Hoping some video gets posted. Ours is not a narcissistic profession by any chance, is it? Nah .....

  2. My previous comment not an aside at court. I agree with smith. Good call. Just thought posting here a bit on the if it bleeds it leads side. Most attorneys need to think of last lines of story above.

  3. Hello everyone I'm Gina and I'm here for the exact same thing you are. I have the wonderful joy of waking up every morning to my heart being pulled out and sheer terror of what DCS is going to Throw at me and my family today.Let me start from the !bebeginning.My daughter lost all rights to her 3beautiful children due to Severe mental issues she no longer lives in our state and has cut all ties.DCS led her to belive that once she done signed over her right the babies would be with their family. We have faught screamed begged and anything else we could possibly due I hired a lawyer five grand down the drain.You know all I want is my babies home.I've done everything they have even asked me to do.Now their saying I can't see my grandchildren cause I'M on a prescription for paipain.I have a very rare blood disease it causes cellulitis a form of blood poisoning to stay dormant in my tissues and nervous system it also causes a ,blood clotting disorder.even with the two blood thinners I'm on I still Continue to develop them them also.DCS knows about my illness and still they refuse to let me see my grandchildren. I Love and miss them so much Please can anyone help Us my grandchildren and I they should be worrying about what toy there going to play with but instead there worrying about if there ever coming home again.THANK YOU DCS FOR ALL YOU'VE DONE. ( And if anyone at all has any ideals or knows who can help. Please contact (765)960~5096.only serious callers

  4. He must be a Rethuglican, for if from the other side of the aisle such acts would be merely personal and thus not something that attaches to his professional life. AND ... gotta love this ... oh, and on top of talking dirty on the phone, he also, as an aside, guess we should mention, might be important, not sure, but .... "In addition to these allegations, Keaton was accused of failing to file an appeal after he collected advance payment from a client seeking to challenge a ruling that the client repay benefits because of unreported income." rimshot

  5. I am not a fan of some of the 8.4 discipline we have seen for private conduct-- but this was so egregious and abusive and had so many points of bad conduct relates to the law and the lawyer's status as a lawyer that it is clearly a proper and just disbarment. A truly despicable account of bad acts showing unfit character to practice law. I applaud the outcome.

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