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The keyword on the issue of succession is planning. A major player, such as a partner, leaving a practice is bound to be a significant event. Careful planning – involving all partners, staff, clients and the bank – should ensure that the disruption, and therefore the potential loss of profits, is kept to a minimum.The partnership agreement is a vital ingredient in the planning process. It involves setting out, in full, arrangements that will minimise the potential for disputes. The peace of mind these arrangements bring is of great benefit to the firm. It ensures that everyone knows where they stand, so that they can devote their energies to developing the practice rather than being distracted by concerns about potential insecurity or unfair treatment.Succession planning may be tackled within the business plan or as a separate issue. Preparing a successful business plan is complex and time-consuming. But the forward-thinking managing partner will put succession planning on the management agenda.

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