Life After Law: What Will You Do with the Next 6,000 Days?

By Edward Poll

(7"x9", 225 pages, soft cover, ISBN 978-0-9797610-7-2, Published by LawBiz® Management, Co., 2013)

Ed Poll has had the experience of starting, running, and exiting the practice of law to transition to a new life. In Life After Law, he gives lawyers critical advice on how to move into their "second season" successfully.

With an eye on balancing the professional and personal fronts, Ed guides readers through steps, such as

  • Choosing retirement on their own terms
  • Guarding clients' welfare in the event of disability or death
  • Transferring client and rainmaking responsibilities
  • Charting an exit from a multi-partner firm
  • Strategizing the sale or closure of a practice

Plus, you'll find essential counsel on how to guard your retirement nest egg and create a fulfilling post-practice life!

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"Five out of five stars! This book is a must-read for everyone in the law. Ed Poll shows he has the experience and wisdom to look at the entire span of lawyers' careers and to show lawyers young and old how to lay the foundations for the decisions they will need to make when they are many years into their professional lives. Throughout, Ed Poll demonstrates the understanding of and compassion for his lawyer readers that have made him a leading law practice consultant and, for some of us, a valued colleague. He anticipates and responds thoughtfully to typical concerns. He offers not just general advice but checklists and even templates for letters and press releases. For the benefit of all of us, newcomers and experienced hands alike, Ed Poll has written a detailed, helpful, guidebook to planning for exiting the practice of law in a manner that is dignified, profitable, and ethical. He stresses ethical concerns throughout. This is also a guidebook to planning one's entire career wisely, and with the end in mind. In fact, Ed Poll can make planning so attractive that readers can hardly wait to get started."

– Mary Campbell Gallagher, J.D., Ph.D., Author of Scoring High on Bar Exam Essays and Perform Your Best on the Bar Exam Performance Test (MPT)

"Ed Poll is a sage voice in the realm of law practice management. His new book, Life After Law, provides an excellent framework from which to manage one's contemplation and effectuation of exit from the practice, for solos and multi-partner firm members alike.

"The author's advice encompasses the practical, legal, strategic, and ethical implications of transitioning out of law practice as only the advice of an experienced practice management advisor/consultant, businessperson, and former practicing attorney can.

"His book provides a comprehensive treatment of the subject, presented in a clear and coherent writing style. The pages are attractively laid out, and the text appears in sufficiently large typefont for the intended audience. It is appropriate for those, like me, who contemplate practicing for at least another decade (or two), as well as for those closer to the cusp of closure.

"Ed Poll addresses some difficult questions, particularly about knowing when it is time to stop practicing – and start living – one's "Life After Law." He deals with myriad issues that surround what for many may be one of the most difficult of life's transitions, and prescribes specific "how-to" steps to take at each juncture. He also references additional reading sources for most topics. And for the final three chapters, Ed Poll turns to several contributors for their additional expertise.

"Replete with helpful sidebars, headings, charts, and graphic depictions to supplement the text, the work is well-organized to convey its messages with minimal effort on the part of the reader. It includes appendices with practical information, checklists, and forms that one actually can use in planning and effectuating the transfer or other closure of one's law practice.

"It's actually a great bargain: For a modest price, you receive a wealth of information that guides you through the process from early preparation through transition to post-practice life. This book will prevent you from being blindsided by many law practice transition pitfalls and issues you might not have anticipated without reading it. No similar resource exists; this volume is unique. It's a comfortable blend of both legal and human considerations.

"This volume also would be an excellent source of information for lawyers seeking to purchase or otherwise assume a retiring lawyer's practice. It's usually worthwhile to know what the other side is – or should be – thinking.

"I plan to pick up this book again in a couple of years and re-read it, to ensure that my thinking is on track. Bottom line: None of us knows when we might choose – or be forced – to close our law practices. Forewarned is forearmed."

– David J. Abeshouse, NY Business Mediator, Arbitrator, Litigator

"Whether you have spent decades in the legal profession, or entered it as a second or even third career, transitioning out of a law practice takes a good deal of thought and action. This book gives lawyers a road map to take the next steps, with stops along the way that we can consider as well. Life After Law fills a gap in career advice literature by telling lawyers what is necessary and advisable to personally and professionally transition out of the practice. It is essential information for all generations of lawyers."

– Avarita L. Hanson, Executive Director, Chief Justice's Commission on Professionalism, Georgia Bar

"Ed Poll's Life After Law provides cogent and thoughtful insights into strategies for transitioning to a new phase after completing a career in practicing law. It is a vital resource for anyone who is planning for retirement, with enlightening reflections on winding down the practice and preparing for the future. It should be read by all attorneys, even those not necessarily thinking of retirement, as there is valuable information on preparing for the unforeseen events that can incapacitate an attorney's ability to manage his or her practice."

– Murray B. Greenberg, President, National Organization of Bar Counsel

"Life After Law: What Will You Do With the Next 6,000 Days? Ed's book is a must read for all lawyers and not just lawyers contemplating retirement. This well written and practical book will help guide lawyers of any age to really think about how to plan their career and, ultimately, their retirement. It's the type of book that should be read every few years to make sure you are on track with your career and retirement goals. The sample forms are outstanding. The book has a lot of material and digs deeply into all the necessary questions, but is still a fast and enjoyable read."

– Carole Levitt, President, Internet for Lawyers

Chapter 1: Preparing to Transition into Your Life's Second Season
- The Cycle of a Law Practice
- The Aging of the Profession: Transition Issues
- Balancing the Personal and Professional in Your Approach
- Knowing the right Questions

Chapter 2: Before You Enter the "Red Zone": Choosing Retirement on Your Terms
- Take a Good Look Before You Leap: The Emotional Component
- Lessons in Slowing Down: A Family Story
- Contrasting Paths: Knowing When It's Enough for You
- Knowing When to Hold 'Em and When to Fold 'Em

Chapter 3: Preparing for the Unexpected: Ethical Consequences of Lacking a Succession Plan
- Guarding Clients' Welfare in the Event of Disability or Death
- More Stories of the Perils That Arise
- The Prudent Strategy: An "Estate Plan" for the Practice
- So Who Will Step In at the Needed Time?

Chapter 4: Charting an Exit from a Multi-Partner Firm
- The Crucial Role of the Partnership Agreement
- What to Do If There Is No Partnership Agreement
- Compensation for Phaseout Periods
- An Additional Issue: The Pension Fund
- Larger Firm Issues: Yesterday and Today
- Thoughts on Leadership Transitions

Chapter 5: Transferring Clients and Rainmaking Know-How to the Next Generation
- Preparing to Transfer Your Client Relationships
- Tactics for an Organized Transfer Process
- Teaching Rainmaking to the Younger Lawyer: "Learn by Doing"
- SMART Relationship Development Plans
- Additional Strategies for Larger Firms
- In With the New, While Recognizing the Older

Chapter 6: Strategizing a Sale for Your Law Practice: Ethics Issues
- The Ability to Sell Under Model Rule 1.17
- Key Ethics Points
- The Bottom Line: Clients' Interests

Chapter 7: The Business End of Selling a Law Practice: Value and Salability
- The Role of Appraisal Figure vs. Sale Price
- Goodwill as a Valuation Factor
- Valuation and Price: Fixed Sum Approach
- Knowing the Pool of Prospective Buyers
- Caveats About the Negotiations
- Mapping Out the Stages

Chapter 8: Shutting a Practice's Doors: How-tos for Closing Up Shop
- Prepare to Exercise Patience and Planning Skills
- Calculating the Closing's Timeline
- Announcing Your Plans to Close: Inside and Outside the Firm
- Notifying Staff
- Notifying Clients
- Notifying Other Parties
- Seeking Publicity
- Ending Relationships with Employees
- Other Professional and Ethics Considerations in Closing the Practice
- Additional Closing Responsibilities as a Business Owner
- Moving Your Property Out of the Office
- Refining Your Timeline for a Smooth Wrap-up

Chapter 9: Personal Finance Issues: Planning Your Path to Financial Security
- What Color Is Your "Second Half" Parachute?
- Measuring and Managing Insurable Risks
- Estate Planning: It's Not Just for Death and Taxes
- So How Much Is Enough?
- Investment Considerations: Dealing with Risk Capacity
- Lessons from the Recent Market
- Making Wealth Management Ongoing

Chapter 10: Advice for Creating a Fulfilling Post-Practice Life
- First Things First: Assessing Where Things Stand Now
- Switching to a Different Career
- Embarking on an Entrepreneurial Endeavor
- What to Do If You Retire Completely
- Giving Back to the Profession

Chapter 11: Ready, Set, Go: A Five-Phase Action Plan to Guide Your Transition
- Phase I: Decide
- Phase II: Prepare
- Phase III: Create
- Phase IV: Implement
- Phase V: Exit


- Appendix I: Succession Planning Survey Results
- Appendix II: Sample Agreement to Have Another Attorney Close the Practice
- Appendix III: Sample Letter to Clients from a Selling Attorney Advising of the Practice's Sale
- Appendix IV: Sample Letter to Clients from a Selling Attorney Advising of the Practice's Sale
- Appendix V: Sample Press Release Announcing Sale of Law Practice
- Appendix VI: Sample Letter to Clients Advising of a Law Office's Closing
- Appendix VII: Timeline for Closing Your Law Practice
- Appendix VIII: Sample Press Release Announcing Closing of Law Practice
- Appendix IX: Sample Client Authorization for Transfer of File
- Appendix X: Sample Client Request to Obtain Client File

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