Planning for a Smooth Client Transition
March 26, 2019
A major generational swing is currently underway in the workforce, as roughly 75 million baby boomers — who hold about one-third of all U.S. jobs — approach retirement. Law firm leaders need to implement smooth, efficient client transition plans in the coming years. Some law firms link compensation to smooth transitions, giving more than 100 percent credit to a partner who meets certain transition expectations.
Developing team-based relationships early and gradually sows trust and establishes relationships that make a client transition more seamless down the line. In respect to diversity, it’s crucial that law firm leaders begin thinking about how they can bring women and minorities onto their client service teams 5 to 6 years before a client transition. This should be a mutual endeavor, with GCs pushing their clients to hire and promote diverse lawyers and law firms nurturing, developing and introducing such lawyers into established client relationships. Preparing a succession plan can become an opportunity to open a discussion with the client about their needs, their key drivers, what they’re looking for in a new relationship partner.
Client transitions in the waning years of the boomer generation not only afford law firms the opportunity to deepen their client relationships but provide an occasion to bring more diversity to the legal profession as a whole. The only way to take full advantage of such succession planning and client transitions is to start early, be communicative and remain transparent.
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