No matter who you are, the type of practice you run, or the size of practice you own, you cannot hide from one fact: retirement time will come. If you’re a boomer lawyer, chances are you’re already considering your options for exiting practice: closing up shop or selling your law practice. Although it might sound simpler to just shut down and walk away, there are some things to consider first.
Neither selling nor closing your law practice is easy. In fact, both processes require most of the same steps such as:
After you retire, your clients will still hope to receive the same level of quality service they experienced with you. Selling your law practice to a trusted successor guarantees that each client is well taken care of.
Selling your practice will also help you regain the years of hard work and sweat equity you’ve invested while building your successful practice. You’ll enhance your financial security so you can enjoy your retirement. You shouldn’t leave hard-earned cash on the table when retirement is right around the corner.
What’s best for another practice may not be best for you. Even if you choose to sell, there are several options such as having an associate buy you out or selling to a third party. You may also benefit from going of-counsel or simply downsizing your practice to prepare for your exit. It’s important to receive the guidance of an experienced professional to help you choose the best path for you.
Of course, if you "die at your desk," you can completely avoid the headache and hassle of either closing or selling your practice. That may sound appealing, but after you're gone, your practice still has to be closed by someone. Do you really want to leave a mess for your spouse, children or some unlucky colleague, not to mention your clients? They all deserve better.
It’s critical that you make the decision to sell or close your practice before you choose to retire or exit. You need a succession plan to help prepare yourself, your practice, your clients and your family for what’s to come.