Retirement Planning: How far we’ve come

It has been 8 years since I started focusing on retirement and what it means for lawyers and their firms. I’d like to share with you some observations about the changes I’ve seen and the initiatives firms are undertaking in response to those changes.

When I began, few lawyers or firms realized the importance of preparing for retirement or had any idea how to do it. They figured that the only necessary advance planning was financial. Fortunately, that attitude is changing. There have been significant shifts regarding retirement thinking among both individual lawyers and law firms.

One shift I see is a growing awareness, openness and desire for help. As people now remain healthy and active far longer than ever before, their post-career lives can last decades. And though many older partners want to practice as long as they can, younger lawyers do not want or expect to spend most of their longer-than-ever lives in law practice.

Lawyers’ understanding of retirement is also changing. Rather than fearing it as an “ending” or descent into oblivion (or alternatively, as one long carefree holiday), they are starting to recognize that retiring is the beginning of a new stage of life. Even senior lawyers who are ready to slow down or step away from what they are doing, do not intend to spend the next few decades purely in travel and leisure. They want to stay actively engaged with the world because they…

Got a minute? Let’s talk retirement

I’m excited to tell you that my new video series, “Got a Minute? Let’s Talk Retirement,” will launch this week! These short videos will answer questions I’m asked frequently by lawyers and law firms about retirement – including some that many of you sent me in response to my recent request for questions. I will produce and post more videos over the next few months, so please continue sending me questions you would like me to address.

The first 18 videos cover a variety of subjects that present challenges for lawyers and law firms. Here are three examples:

How will I know when I’m ready to retire?
Paying attention to your practice, workplace, and feelings will give you the clues you need to decide when it’s time to move on.

How long does a client transition take?
Various factors affect how long it takes to transition clients, but it usually takes longer than you expect.

How can we motivate partners to prepare successors and transition clients?
Partners are more likely to prepare successors and transfer clients if they appreciate the reasons, incentives and rewards for doing it, firm policies and practices are uniform, transparent and consistently applied, and they feel confident they will be treated fairly.

These and other videos are hosted on YouTube and my website. You can subscribe to the series at and receive notifications when…

New video project: Your input requested

Got a minute? I’d like to get your input for a new project I’m developing: a series of free, short videos about retirement that will be publicly available online. It will address questions that lawyers and other professionals have asked me over the last few years about preparing for, transitioning into, and improving retirement. It will also deal with issues that law firms have asked about how to discuss retirement, support lawyers who decide to retire, and manage partner succession and client transitions.

I would welcome your responses to brief survey that you can access here. It should take you no more than a minute. It asks you to check off topics you would like to hear about and to add any others that interest you. There are 2 sets of topics – one for people thinking about their own retirement, the other for people who lead, manage or support retiring partners. You may answer either or both sets.

If you would like to discuss any of the questions in greater depth, or if you would like me to call you to discuss my retirement book, course, or services, please contact me.

Collaboration is a hallmark of design thinking, which is at the heart of my book and e-course, Retirement by Design. Thank you for taking a moment to collaborate with me in creating my Retirement by Design video series.

Additional news: Recent Publications

Three Questions…