Succession Planning; or Have You Washed Your Hands This Decade?

Fox and Friends’ has a dirty secret. Pete Hegseth has pronounced to the world that he hasn’t washed his hands in, oh, say 10 years.

Guardian headline on Hegseth handwashingNeedle scratch. What?

Yeah, see, according to Hegseth, “Germs aren’t a real thing.” Plus, he just inoculates himself.

I know, I know. I can’t go any deeper into his psyche; I may never get out alive. But you’re probably asking yourself, why am I talking about this on a blog for law firms?

Because, my friend, your firm probably has a Fox and Friends problem of its own. Where you behave irrationally due to your misguided beliefs.

Would you believe: Succession Planning is your “Germs Don’t Exist”?

It’s true.You know why? Because senior partners aged 60 or older control 50 percent or more of the client base and in most cases run the firm.

You know what people aged 60 or older start to do?


And what are you doing about it?

Oh, inoculating yourself, or something. Seriously, you’re facing a loss of revenue and leadership, and what are you doing? Offering millennials the illusion of flex time as a way to retain them? It’s not enough, and you know it.

The ABA has recently estimated that nearly 65 percent of equity partners will retire over the next decade. But how many firms have put in place a solid succession plan that transitions clients and revenues to the next generation? Not many.

So what are you thinking? Senior Partner Johnny is going to conk out on his desk and somehow, someone is going to seamlessly swoop in and service his clients and everyone will be happy? Save the magical thinking for Pete Hegseth.

Your firm needs to make structured plans that address the myriad issues that the upcoming generatiogermy handshakenal shift will encompass:

  • client transitions to new attorney coverage
  • compensation shifts
  • phase-down programs for the retiring cohort.

And you also need to develop the next generation of leaders.

These are not things that are going to solve themselves. Nor will they be easily to address.

But analyzing your firm’s demographics, client roster, and compensation systems is a start in succession planning. From there, you know where you stand, and then you can build on that knowledge to create a plan to move into the future. You’ll be ready to welcome new leadership, transition your clients, and develop exit plans for retiring lawyers.

Just don’t shake their hand goodbye if they don’t believe in germs.

Want to learn more about succession planning? C4CM’s Lawyer Succession: Keys to Partner Compensation and Client Transfers, explains how to make specific compensation decisions for individual partners as they transition to retirement; and how smart firms should prepare now for issues associated with senior-level partners’ departure from practice, before a client crisis occurs. Get it today!

-Tina Nacrelli

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