In with the old – the importance of keeping grey hairs in the partnership
If law firms' current focus seems to be on reshaping the junior end of their fee earner base to include a more socially and ethnically diverse group of lawyers, let's not forget that the senior end of the profession also has problems. For some time law firms have been slammed for being ill-prepared to meet demand from older partners keen to continue working but perhaps with fewer hours and less responsibility than their younger, progression-hungry colleagues. But with a couple of new initiatives announced in recent months, is the tide gradually turning in favour of older lawyers keen to remain at their firms in some capacity? All of the UK top 10 firms offer the role of consultant as an alternative to partnership for lawyers beyond retirement age in certain circumstances. Take up at firms to date has been limited, however, with only small numbers at each. And, on the whole, the top 10 do not offer formalised mechanisms as partners wind down from the partnership. Part of the problem for firms is that lawyers have typically been very bad about planning roles beyond partnership. Of those who are interested in remaining in private practice, some might mull over the prospect of helping out with discreet projects, or get involved with education and training. Others may turn to thought leadership, or might want to retain a degree of chargeable client work. But it is not obvious whether this lack of planning reflects a lack of fore-thought on the part of the individual or whether it is because firms themselves are unclear on what roles are available beyond the lockstep.
Law firms have long been criticised for failing to respond to the demands of older partners keen to continue working after retirement. But with Allen & Overy and Freshfields recently launching flexi-work initiatives, are opportunities for senior lawyers starting to open up? Pui-Guan Man reports
This premium content is reserved for
Legal Week Subscribers.
Subscribe today and get 10% off.
A PREMIUM SUBSCRIPTION PROVIDES:
- Trusted insight, news and analysis from the UK and across the globe
- Connections to senior business lawyers within the leading law firms and legal departments
- Optimized access on all of your devices: desktop, tablet and mobile
- Complete access to the site's full archive of more than 56,000 articles
Already have an account? Sign In Now