Sunday, January 29, 2006

When Clients and Partners Retire

Aging-up of key clients and attorneys is worthy of planning in any firm with a long history, or a firm with a hope for a sustained future. At my firm many of the most prestigious old-money generals of the region are numbered among our clients. Our relationships go back as far as 30 and 50 years. But, by golly, these people, the generals and partners, are going to retire (which they have certainly earned).

What are you doing if you find yourself facing a similar future of aging (literally) relationships? What we are doing is talking, frankly, with our generals to discover what future they are plotting for the legacy of their companies, and finding out who are the bright young lieutenants that will step up to carry the flag.

More importantly, we are identifying our young partners that can step up to claim these new relationships. We’re matchmaking business relationships in the hope of continued success with legacy clients.

We do not forget that, no matter how carefully groomed, lieutenants come with their own ideas and agenda. The passing of the reigns is equal to ‘it won’t be the same as it has always been.’

So take a minute to look at the existing relationships at your firm. Put on your wizard hat and guesstimate how long before client or partner retires. If your guesstimate is under two years for either party in a relationship the time to act in NOW!