How does the legal community at large continue to provide and expand high-quality legal services to all Indiana communities? What role should law practice succession planning play in ensuring that people, businesses, governmental and nonprofit organizations’ legal needs are competently addressed?
Normal law practice succession planning involves developing a plan for your law practice that will be implemented over the next one to five years. But what about having a plan to deal with issues such as short-term illness, disability, vacations and death?
What are your goals for your retirement and law firm succession plan, and how do you plan to achieve them? Do you have any timetable in mind? It can be difficult for some of us to sit down and think about retirement and how we will plan our exit from our practice. But just as in estate planning, we need to face these issues.
Helping attorneys develop law practice succession plans is very specific to the desires and circumstances of each attorney. The options vary depending on whether a senior attorney is a solo practitioner or practicing in a law firm.
Rule 1.17 of the Rules of Professional Conduct, which deals with the sale of a law practice, is a restraining force in law practice succession planning. There are good reasons for this rule, such as putting our clients’ interests before our own, but no other profession faces the restrictions an attorney has when selling a law practice.
The thought of mentoring junior attorneys can be a restraining force in itself. Some of you are probably thinking, “Been there, done that!” having invested in a junior attorney (or more than one) who then opened their own practice, joined another practice or wasn’t a good match after all. But even given what seems like a daunting task, it can be done.
Because attorneys are problem-solvers, our services are in ever-increasing demand. Many of us baby boomers and our parents are living longer and facing many living options in our retirements, as well as health issues.