Nelson: Planning for the future, transitions and saying goodbye

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nelson-jennifer-editorThere comes a time in our working life when we have to decide when we are going to stop working. For lawyers, leaving a law practice, especially when you are a solo practitioner, can be a very difficult decision. Solo practitioners don’t have the benefit of easily shifting clients and work to another lawyer in the office, so they have a few options. The attorney could shut down the practice completely, work until he or she is no longer capable and then leave someone else to deal with closing the practice, or find a successor.

In this issue, we’re launching a new column from Don Hopper about law firm succession planning (see page 10). Hopper’s interest in helping attorneys around the state find successors for their firms came about as he spoke to Hoosier attorneys about inheritance tax issues. Many confided in him that they had no idea how to wind down their practices.

Hopper decided to create a unique service that will help attorneys at the end of their careers transition their established practices to younger attorneys willing to take over. In his column, Hopper will address many issues that lawyers have raised with him about law firm succession planning, such as what are the options for succession, why should a solo or law firm develop a law practice succession plan, and what are the ethical issues to consider when creating a succession plan.

I hope you will find his column helpful and can use his tips in planning for your firm’s future.

And speaking of the future and succession planning, we’ve got a succession plan in place here at Indiana Lawyer. This is my last issue as editor of the paper. Managing editor Dave Stafford, who has decades of experience in the newspaper business and has been with Indiana Lawyer for five years, has taken over as editor. His skills, experience and rapport with the legal community make him the perfect choice to succeed me.

I learned a lot about the law and the fine lawyers in our state in the more than 11 years I’ve worked at Indiana Lawyer. (I like to joke with my friends that perhaps I could represent myself in court based on the number of court opinions I’ve read since 2007.) My new position will keep me connected to the legal community (and allow me more time with my two young daughters), so there’s a chance our paths will cross again. Thank you for your continued support of the Indiana Lawyer!•

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