CLP Distinguished Fellow Heidi Gardner on Succession Planning

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Part I

Many of the largest and most profitable firms today have been built on the backs of entrepreneurial lawyers who prospered within a live-and-let-live culture that rewarded them handsomely for winning top client business. Those lawyers—often thriving on a sort of maverick persona—served as sole relationship partners for their clients, which typically accounted for a sizeable portion of the firm’s overall revenue. In recent years, though, as client problems have grown increasingly complex and multifaceted, the client service model has evolved from disaggregated, solo gurus to broader, cross-practice teams. Many firms are unprepared for this shift, as senior partners inch toward retirement with no real client succession plan in place. …

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Part II

After spelling out the benefits of productive succession management, internal challenges to overcome, and the importance of introducing succession planning early on in lawyers’ career in Part 1 of this series, we’re back with 10 easy-to-digest steps to help firms analyze and uncover current gaps and opportunities in their succession management. Let’s dig in. …

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