Succession Planning: Ensuring Smooth Transitions for Lawyers and their Firms


Edited by Katerina Menhennet


£95, Globe Law and Business



There are quite a few books approaching this subject from different angles. This one emphasises the importance of keeping clients happy when partners retire, so that the firm’s income is unaffected. All partners have to leave at some point, whether planned or not, or willingly or unwillingly, so it is better to start thinking now about when and how you move on.

We should, the book advises, plan succession from day one when a partner or a fee-earner is appointed. This may be easier for larger firms. The priority is a smooth transition which benefits everyone, the firm included.

One reason for books on succession planning being written now is the changing professional landscape. There are different ways of doing business, and partnership is no longer the ultimate ambition of many younger lawyers. The rewards of partnership are no longer so enticing, the risks of failure have increased, and the number of non-legal management tasks such as audits and compliance have increased.

This is a short and concise book with chapters by various writers, of whom Ronnie Fox is probably the best-known.

The book sometimes slips into jargon such as, ‘it is advisable to have a partner compensation retirement support pool’. There are some useful points, though, and a good section on law firm ‘royalty’ – meaning senior partners, rainmakers and even fake rainmakers. Firms need experienced partners to manage and run the firm but we all have to go some time.

A very helpful guide.


David Pickup is a partner at Pickup & Scott Solicitors, Aylesbury