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…