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Lawyers in Transition

Matt Byrne’s article in The Lawyer on 8th March 2018 ( discusses how law firms recognise the need to support their retiring partners, but also struggle to provide the transition support they need. The article explains well why this support is not only essential for the individual but also beneficial for the firm which the partner leaves.

At AGM Transitions we support senior leaders in career transitions, particularly in the latter stages of their career and often into non-executive activities. Of all the sectors we cover, lawyers find career transitions amongst the most challenging because:

  • Lawyers are reluctant to show their hand too early for fear of being held to account and then moved on before they are ready with well-prepared and articulated decisions and future roles

  • Lawyers tend to have less experience of transitioning between organisations, having often spent most of their career in only one or two firms

  • Lawyers’ networks can be quite narrowly focused on their specific area of law and on corporate activity in their specialism

  • Lawyers’ messaging is often focused on their internal responsibility within a firm’s organisation – this messaging can be less relevant to future roles and to the external world

  • Lawyers have a narrower perspective on what they could do next; this makes it harder for them to prepare for transition. They are less aware of potential opportunities and challenges, or are not motivated to move on at a time when their firm is keen for them to transition

  • Lawyers’ technical skills are often less in demand for board positions because these may already be covered within the executive team or by external advisers

  • The current demographic of senior legal partners is increasingly at odds with the diversity targets currently being adopted by boards

Decisions around the next stages of a career are very personal and emotive and need to be taken independently of career discussions that are held with the firm. Each person’s career is very bespoke. Whilst group programmes can address some of the practical aspects of transitioning out of a law firm, The Lawyer’s article correctly identifies that individuals need time and support to explore their individual opportunities.

At AGM Transitions, we have extensive experience of supporting over 3,000 senior executives through all kinds of senior executive transitions. We are valued for building trusted and deep relationships that support the practical, commercial and emotional states of a transition. We help individuals to identify ‘what they want to do next’ and focus on their messaging to enhance their reputation through the transition. We find the best results come from working with clients over at least 12 months. We work globally, leveraging our networks across sectors to help our clients implement their career strategy.

Jo Cochrane, an AGM Transitions partner with extensive experience of the legal profession, would be delighted to have a no-obligation discussion about how we might be able to support you. ( 07909 546067)

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