Law firms throughout the country are struggling to find the balance to keep key people at every stage of development. We talked previously about how retirement should seen as a period of time when senior lawyers can experience new growth opportunities for themselves, their loved ones, and properly handled, this planning process should benefit the broader law firm community in many other ways.
The same senior lawyers that many law firms are now looking to sunset may become the untapped resources firms will need to lead the talent pool of the future?
Today, we are facing a shortage, not a surplus of talented lawyers, so law firms must begin to phase out “retirement” as we know it. As a replacement, law firms need to explore how a staged reduction in work hours and responsibilities ahead of full retirement might work. The same must be said for young people entering the profession. Our panelists agreed that no amount of money will be enough to keep talented young people from “jumping-ship” unless firms begin to address their needs and their concerns.
In my experiences with senior lawyers over the years, senior lawyers or pre-retirees are clearly not looking to fade away. They want to find fulfilling activities. They want enriching endeavors. Certainly they want to leisure… at times, and they naturally want to have fun. But, contrary to the popular media view of retirement, the most important thing lawyers anticipating retirement are looking for is their own fulfillment…their own sense of purpose and meaning. The idea of a more flexible retirement option, would allow not only partial retirement, so that senior lawyers can enjoy other pursuits, but also active retirement, wherein seniors can remain productively and socially engaged in the workplace. Going to a more flexible retirement as well as more flexible work schedules for all lawyers will demonstrate a fundamental shift in the way lawyers of all ages live their lives.