Succession planning is one of those management issues that often does not get attention until a senior partner or rainmaker announces plans to leave or retire – and then the firm goes into crisis mode.
A smart law firm will plan for a broad spectrum of issues associated with senior-level partners’ departure from practice, before that crisis occurs. These issues may include: client service and client relationships; practice skills and expertise; firm governance and leadership roles; or functional management roles and experience. Many of these issues are long-term in nature. It can take years or decades to build new client relationships to replace outgoing expertise, or to develop new people for key governance roles.