Legal Department Succession Planning

On the other hand, you should also have a conversation with members of the department who are approaching retirement age and have an idea of when they want to leave the department. This can`t be seen as an attempt to crowd out older workers (which is illegal in the U.S. and elsewhere), but rather as an honest conversation about when someone wants to leave and how many notifications you can schedule — and make sure you work with HR before you have that conversation. Once you`ve assembled your data points, the graph is relatively easy to compile. This lack of planning is the result of two things: 1) succession planning is a low priority for the legal department compared to all other operations; and 2) it`s hard to get started and it can feel overwhelming – meaning an early onset of “planning paralysis.” Nor is it a valid reason for not properly succession planning within the department. The good news is that it`s never too late to start and you can be part of the process, regardless of your position within the department. Succession planning can be divided into three parts: 1) succession needs assessment; 2) the development of emerging talent; and 3) preparation of a succession plan. There`s a lot to report, so grab a cup of coffee and make yourself comfortable, as this edition of “Ten Things” walks you through the steps needed to create a succession management plan: The wave of baby boom retirements, as well as the influx of millennials into the legal workforce, mean that succession planning must be at the forefront from now on. Ensure that: 1) the needs of the department are part of the company`s regular planning; 2) The legal department uses the tools and resources provided by the company/HR; and 3) they take the process seriously and make it a priority. While it takes a long time to plan for succession, it`s an established process, and you`ll understand it pretty quickly. The hardest parts are the conversations you need to have with your team about skills, interests, retirement, etc. While this is sometimes difficult, you will find that these conversations and the discussion about succession planning lead to a better and more dynamic legal department. Finally, no matter what your position within the department is, you realize that succession planning is an opportunity for you to draw attention to yourself and stay on the radar for a bigger role and get the training you need to succeed – whether it`s for your current business or for your next job.

Don`t be a spectator, look for it and be part of the process. The lawyer you have chosen will need to be trained to take over your practice, which can take five to ten years. This will be the person to whom you entrust the legal affairs of your clients. You can offer this lawyer a partnership regarding your exit strategy and arrange appropriate compensation for yourself. Carissa Tham is an experienced writer and editor. She is passionate about using her previous experience in finance, technology and marketing to help lawyers succeed in a rapidly changing legal environment. While it has limitations, the Nine Box will help you determine the talent pool. Their “top right” people are the most likely candidates for succession.

The second tool is the most important, the “succession planning worksheet”. An important piece of information you need before creating this document is whether the people you have identified as successors are actually interested in the position. There is no point in thinking that you have identified the right person just to know when it comes time to push that they are not interested. The easiest way to solve this problem is to ask them (or better yet, let your HR representative be the person asking the question in order to get more honest answers). You can now create your worksheet detailing the position in question and potential successors, including whether they are considered immediate, medium or long-term candidates. If possible, it should also cover external candidates, or at least indicate the procedure to be followed if external candidates are needed. Here`s an example: While no one intends to get sick or suddenly lose the ability to work, it`s more important to have a succession plan in place to ensure the continued success of your business. Joan M. Burda, a lawyer in Lakewood, Ohio, describes the “keys to succession planning,” which we`ll discuss below. The following sections also describe how to plan a succession plan for a law firm so that you, your firm and your clients do not find yourself in a difficult situation.