Moving is never fun. Moving an entire office? Even less fun.

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Big Ideas

Making the Move to Retirement Planning

Moving is never fun. Moving an entire office? Even less fun.

Recently, the firm I work for, Clark Partington, relocated its main office to a new construction space. The space is beautiful and will be great once the dust finally settles. But right now, there are a lot of daily frustrations. The outlets are in the wrong spot. One minute, my office is hot … then it’s suddenly cold. Most recently, I’ve been tasked with preparing a video on how to work the new coffee machine — no lie: a video.

Like many of you, I love the legal management profession because of the variety of challenges and tasks it offers. But after months of coordinating this project, it made me wonder about what a good age to retire would be. Is 50 too early? Unfortunately for me, the answer is yes.

As individuals, it’s easier for us to gauge when our retirement can realistically happen. But that’s not always the case with our managing partners. Not planning for a rainmaker’s retirement can leave the entire organization scrambling. Having such a plan in place is another one of those challenging tasks that falls on us as legal managers.

This month’s cover story, “When a Rainmaker Retires,” details just how much of an issue that can be. Partners age 60 or older control at least a quarter of the total revenue at 63 percent of firms, according to most recent Altman Weil Law Firms in Transition survey. And what about the role these partners play in the relationships with key clients? Addressing such transitions can be a thorny and sensitive subject with partners. But it is a conversation that needs to happen — the long-term health of your firm depends on it.

Addressing such transitions can be a thorny and sensitive subject with partners. But it is a conversation that needs to happen — the long-term health of your firm depends on it.

I invite you to check out this article. It’s got great tips on how to approach these conversations, as well as guidelines for when you should start the planning process. I found the section on professional development quite helpful — not only do you need to plan for rainmaker retirement, you also need to make sure you are identifying and training leaders to carry the firm forward.

Additionally, most of this issue focuses on finance, which is right in my wheelhouse. I hope you find the information as helpful as I did.

In the meantime, I’ll still contemplate my own succession plan. But first, I need to start on that coffee-making video. Please feel free to check in with me about my cinematography skills.

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