ABA book discusses successful succession planning for law firms

With 65 percent of U.S. law firms’ equity partners in their late 50s or early 60s, many will be transitioning and exiting their practices over the next decade. A new book from the American Bar Association, “The Lawyer's Guide to Succession Planning: A Project Management Approach for Successful Law Firm Transitions and Exits,” will help lawyers in firms of all sizes better handle the process of such a challenging transition.

Written by management consultant John W. Olmstead, “The Lawyer’s Guide to Succession Planning” will help firms avoid a much-too-typical “reactionary mode” and prepare for a transition of firm leadership and client relationships. The book offers succession and transition processes, approaches and step-by-step action plans for solo practitioners, sole owners and members of larger law firms.

It also discusses what to do, what not to do and how to do it, and provides case studies, sample action plans, sample succession plans and sample agreements.

“The Lawyer’s Guide to Succession Planning” comes with downloadable files that dig deep into the formidable issues of succession planning.

Sample worksheets and agreements cover everything from a broad action plan to more specific topics, such as partner transition plans, merger agreements and retirement readiness assessments. These informative examples, combined with the substantive information provided in the book, will guide attorneys on the easiest and most successful path to succession planning.

The author is a certified management consultant and president of Olmstead & Associates, legal management consultants based in St. Louis.

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