i am the managing partner of a 12 lawyer firm in Rochester, Minnesota. I am in my early 50s. Two of my partners are in their 60s and two are in their 70s. None of them want to discuss retirement – in fact they jokingly state that they would like to work forever. Do you have any thoughts regarding encouraging/motivating senior partners to embrace retirement?
I am working with more partners and firm owners in their 50s that have clearer ideas about their retirement timeline (often at age 65) than partners in their 60s and 70s. These partners are often the firm founders that built their firms and have a different attitude toward work and life than their partners that are in their 40s and 50s. Work/life balance is often a foreign concept to this older generation of lawyers.
Often "the firm" has been the primary – or only interest – for some of these partners at the exclusion of family and other outside interests. In other cases, the partner's spouse may have passed away and the firm is the partner's LIFE. In such situations bringing up the subject is often difficult.
While this is a difficult subject – not discussing the non-discussible because the topic is uncomfortable – is not the answer. Here are a few ideas:
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John W. Olmstead, MBA, Ph.D, CMC