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Succession Planning Scenarios for Solos & Small Law Firm Owners

For solo practitioners and small law firm owners seeking retirement, here is a quick, down-and-dirty summary of the succession plan strategies available to you. Put another way, here are three structural ways that soon-to-be retired lawyers can “sell” their practices. ... Read More

How to Retain Clients When a Lawyer Retires: Plan for the Skill Gap

A critical component of a law firm’s succession plan is to figure out how to retain the firm’s best clients when senior lawyers retire. Most law firms quickly jump to determine who in the firm is either ready to step up or ready to undertake proper mentoring and training to step up in the future. Before making this determination, however, it is important to ask several questions. ... Read More
Categories: Attorney Retirement

Preparing Your Practice for Sale? Don’t Do Stupid S**t.

Soon-to-be retired solo practitioners and small law firm owners who are thinking of selling their law firms frequently ask, “Is there anything special or unique that I should do now to maximize my practice’s value?” Whenever I hear that question, I can’t help but think of President Obama’s remark about how to best manage world affairs: “Don’t do stupid s**t.” That advice holds true for lawyers contemplating selling their practice. ... Read More

Succession Planning: Don’t Delay Identifying New Leaders

I recently attended a CLE with approximately 25 other people. Two individuals introduced themselves as managing partners of their small law firms. Both were in their 60s and both indicated their firms had not yet identified logical successor candidates to lead when they retire. The situation these partners find themselves in is not unusual. ... Read More
Categories: Attorney Retirement

Appraising a Law Firm for a Buy-In: CPA’s Need Not Apply

Of course, you could hire a CPA. Your CPA could plug numbers into one, or a few, appraisal methods. Presto! You now know that your firm is worth “x” amount (or several amounts, as formula valuations can vary significantly). But should you base your asking price on that? ... Read More

A Rule of Thumb for Valuing a Law Practice Is Not to Use the Rule of Thumb

Solo practitioners and small law firm owners wanting to know what their practices are worth frequently rely on the “rule of thumb” valuation method. The choice is an easy one to make, because the method is simple; even lawyers who can barely read a balance sheet or a profit and loss statement can understand it. ... Read More

Should Your Career Expire When Your Lease Does?

Clients often ask me, “Roy, what’s the biggest mistake solo practitioners and small firm owners make when considering their retirement/succession strategies?” My answer? Attorneys permit their office situation, specifically a lease obligation, to muck things up. Continue reading this post at www.attorneyatlaw.com.   Read More
Categories: Attorney Retirement

Lawyers Must Make Room for the Future

Retirement often goes hand in hand with downsizing your living quarters, whether that means relocating to a warmer climate retirement community or buying the downtown condo in your present area. In either case, most senior attorneys are faced with the issue of finding a place for all of their “stuff.” It can be difficult to throw away items that represent so many sentiments from the past even when you know there is no room for it where you’re going. Welcome to the quandary of downsizing.  To begin, we’ll go over some of the conventional wisdom. Then I’ll throw in my own two cents based on recent personal experience.  (While I’m not quite ready to retire, I did recently downsize since my children are now all launched… Read More
Categories: Uncategorized

How to Be Successful at Succession Planning

Mark Twain is said to have remarked, “Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.” That quote came to mind when I heard about a new book by veteran law firm consultant John W. Olmstead, “The Lawyer’s Guide to Succession Planning: A Project Management Approach for Successful Law Firm Transitions and Exits.” The fact that such a book has been published indicates the legal profession is talking more about succession planning. Yet are today’s lawyers and firms actually doing anything about succession? Facts Don’t Lie In 1980, only a quarter of the legal profession was older than 55. Today, well over a third of lawyers are. That means that more than a third of those practicing today will likely not… Read More
Categories: Attorney Retirement

Is it Time to Retire?

For most lawyers, the decision when to retire is rarely black and white. Instead, the choice comes with lots of gray (that goes along with your gray hair!). To help you find the right time, think about these questions: Do you still have the fire in your belly? Are you still excited about going into the office, or do you dread the thought? Have you been on the receiving end of subtle or not-so-subtle suggestions from family, friends or colleagues that perhaps it’s time to slow down? How do you feel physically? Is your mental edge still there? How often do you have “senior moments?” How healthy are your parents? Will you need to help them through their own sunset years? How is your spouse’s or significant other’s health? What are h… Read More
Categories: Attorney Retirement

I hired Roy when I was fifty-five to help me lay the groundwork for my eventual exit from practicing law. He provided some valuable advice about how to tweak my existing practice in a way that will make is easier for me to work part-time . . ." Read the rest
– Solo practitioner, St. Paul, MN

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