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    August 8th, 2012

    ♫ We’re gonna miss your smile; we’re gonna miss your style
    We’re gonna miss your ways; gonna miss you every day…
    ‘Cause there you go, cruising down the highway of life! ♫

    Music and Lyrics by MaryLee Sunseri.

    Gold Watch

    All of us know at least one practising lawyer who has reached his or her’s “best before date.” It is particularly troubling when you think that this lawyer could be you. Raising the issue of retirement with any lawyer can be a difficult and complex discussion, particularly so when someone defines his or her self-worth in terms of being a lawyer. While retirement is usually examined in economic terms, this column looks at the issue in more of a personal context.

    There are many signs that it may be time to think about moving into the next phase in your life. Retirement is not about retiring from life. It is about leaving behind those aspects that no longer fit with your current stage of life. Here is a Top 10 list of signs that it may be time to consider moving on:

    1. Your Client Base: You are no longer sending clients to younger associates as you are trying to keep hold of a diminishing client base to preserve your billings. You realize that you haven’t been attracting new clients to the firm as you once did.
    2. Associates: Associates don’t come to your door seeking advice as they once did.
    3. Involvement: You haven’t been invited to participate in a CLE program – or even a firm committee – in quite some time.
    4. Excitement: At the start of your career you couldn’t wait to get into court or be involved in a big deal. You stretched, learned new skills and overcame challenges. You were energized by what practice offered. Now ask yourself: when was the last time you were truly excited about your work?
    5. Technology: You no longer have the patience to deal with new tools. You find yourself saying: “Why do they keep changing the stuff on my computer?” Or even worse, you say: “Why do we have to keep paying for this new stuff? What’s wrong with what we have?”
    6. Your Spouse: Your spouse has retired and keeps leaving travel brochures on the coffee table. Or worse, his/her (or your) health may be in jeopardy and you realize that you may be facing a smaller window together than you had anticipated.
    7. Too Comfortable: You have had a great career, you have a sizable retirement fund but you haven’t been pushed outside your comfort zone in a long while. Perhaps you are experiencing a slow death of mediocrity each day.
    8. Burnt Out: Have you been going at it – hard – for so long that you feel like you are just running on empty? If even a small challenge feels like a mountain, you may have drained the last of your reserves.
    9. You’re in Park: You come to the office each day as you simply don’t know what else to do with your life.
    10. Your Spidey-Sense is Tingling: If that small voice inside you, your intuition or your gut, is telling you it is time, then it’s time. Trust it.

    If you come to the conclusion that it is indeed better to walk out of your office, head held high, rather than being carried out feet first, then start to plan your retirement – now – and open your mind to the possibilities offered by cruising down the highway of life.

    (This post was originally written for the Canadian Bar Association – British Columbia Branch’s newsletter “BarTalk” in the column “PracticeTalk”).

    This entry was posted on Wednesday, August 8th, 2012 at 9:16 am and is filed under Change Management, Firm Governance, Issues facing Law Firms, Law Firm Strategy, Leadership and Strategic Planning, personal focus and renewal, Tips, Trends. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
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