Succession Planning As a “Conundrum”

Kathy Fortin
Nov 29, 2016

The ABA Magazine “Law Practice” (Nov/Dec 2016 issue) features an article written by Johnny Darnell Griggs on the topic of Succession Planning.  He says that for most lawyers planning for succession is a conundrum, full of risks and uncertainties.  He suggests transitioning an individual lawyer’s clients to firm clients, as a method that can ease the process.

It is always great to see an article addressing succession planning, because it is such a critical topic for lawyers to consider.  As Attorney Griggs says, with so many aging baby-boomers the question of how they exit their practice becomes more pressing. 

Some of the issues Mr. Griggs raises are certainly issues we see in our consulting work with senior lawyers seeking to create a succession plan for their firm.  Partners may have concerns about difficulties transitioning clients and also about retaining the rewards he or she has reaped.  Addressing these concerns and others is part of the process that comes with planning for succession.  The advantages of planning ahead are many.  While lawyers may worry about losing control during the process, we have seen the planning process become a means of maintaining control of those aspects of the practice considered most important.  Another advantage is that the timing of when the plan is implemented is under the control of the senior lawyer.  The plan is only put in place when he or she is ready to wind-down, become Of Counsel, or fully retire. 

Articles like this one raise awareness of the subject and offer important suggestions. Hopefully many more lawyers will begin to recognize that they have solid options available. The sooner they start planning, rather than avoiding the subject, they will see there are workable solutions to what they may consider a conundrum.