With vast numbers of baby-boom attorneys facing career transitions, a substantial demographic shift is on the horizon for the legal profession. A recent New York Times article discussed the dynamics of BigLaw’s aging law firm leadership and cited a troubling statistic: only 31 percent of the largest law firms have a formal succession planning process.
The article reminds us about how critical succession management planning is, not only for law firm leadership, but also for pro bono leadership. By having a strategy, firms can effectively ensure continuity in program governance, in part by identifying and cultivating talent from within the firm to guarantee a smooth transition. Although thinking ahead and planning for a sudden or anticipated departure of a pro bono leader is neither easy nor comfortable, it is important that firms create and maintain clear succession management plans so that their pro bono programs are not vulnerable during periods of change.
For guidance on this topic, check out Planning for the Future: Law Firm Pro Bono Succession Management, the Law Firm Pro Bono Project’s toolkit designed to help firms jumpstart their planning process. Among other things, the resource offers sample strategies, models, timelines, and checklists for different departure scenarios and provides customizable job descriptions and competencies to assist with your preparation for pro bono leadership transitions. Get started today and enjoy the peace of mind that succession management planning provides.
Visit our Resource Clearinghouse to download the toolkit, which is free for Law Firm Project Members and available to all others for purchase. (If you are new to the Resource Clearinghouse, please contact Eva Richardson to register.)
Has your pro bono program recently undergone a leadership transition? What lessons did you learn? Let us know!