Exit Strategies Toolkit
Tracey Calvert and Helen Carr
£59.99, Law Society
It is unfortunate that this book is needed at all. Its publication is a sign, quite a bad sign, of the times. As it says in the foreword, the ‘continual erosion of legal aid and an ageing population’, among other reasons, mean solicitors’ firms are closing or merging. I am not aware of any great movement to merge or that the ageing population is a cause of our problems. I thought law for the elderly was a comparatively new source of work. What happened to legal insurance and technology which promised so much?
Certainly we, the profession, are getting older. I am told the average age of criminal solicitors is 60 (which seems quite young to me but never mind). Entrants to the profession are not interested in what was bread-and-butter work a few years ago. Partnership is not seen as the career goal it once was. The image of the profession is seen as white and middle class. I was asked recently by an A-level student on work experience if you can be a solicitor if you did not go to Oxbridge.
Having bewailed the need for such a book, it certainly is essential reading for many of us. It covers the basic professional rules. It is not good if we get it wrong, because there are serious sanctions for not having a planned orderly exit. The book explains what to tell the Solicitors Regulation Authority, clients and former clients, and what documents you have to keep and for how long. There are indemnity implications which are set out clearly.
There is a section on ‘life after an exit event’, which is a nice way to put it and shows us what we can and cannot do. There is a handy disc which contains the standard documents. I thought the suggested firm closure plan was particularly helpful.
I would suggest a future edition might include more on what to tell staff and when, as well as clients, and possibly a chapter on options suggesting strategies for getting support or reducing expenses. In an ideal world, we would all have exit strategies like we all ought to have generous pensions and life insurance.
David Pickup is a partner at Pickup & Scott Solicitors, Aylesbury
- Would you be interested in writing a book review for the Law Society Gazette? The Gazette receives books on a range range of legal specialisms, as well as fiction, history and biography. If you are interested please write to Nicholas Goodman indicating your specialism.