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Retaining Valued Partners

The Division of Motor Vehicles recommends checking the integrity of your tires every 3,000 – 5,000 miles. Why is that relevant? Because rarely does a blow out just happen…

For those in law firm leadership, why not apply that same wellness check with your partners? We discussed in another article some of the reasons why valued partners leave law firm A to join law firm B, and it rarely has to do with compensation.

A few years ago, we were asked by a client to create a program designed to assist senior law firm partners whose practices had slowed significantly, in addition to others, whose clients had disappeared for one reason or another. We called our pilot program the Career Transition Program. The program was launched and it was a huge success. But the program was so successful it had to be modified quickly because our client informed us it was too successful.

The basic concept of the Career Transition Program was to invite valued attorneys who were no longer on track to make equity partner, or were about to be de-equitized, and assist them into moving their talents and experiences into in-house legal departments, preferably a position within the legal department of a client of the firm or a desirable client that the firm would like to represent.

What we learned from representing this national client was that many of their valued partners were contacting us to learn how they could confidentially leave the firm. Most were open-minded in exploring positions with other law firms, as well as in-house opportunities.

If you have partners who occasionally express themselves in tones of criticism, defensiveness or worse, they’ve begun stonewalling leadership or isolating themselves, you may want to quickly arrange a lunch meeting.

There is an old saying in Law and Politics, “People may not have the authority to cast a vote, but everyone can vote with their feet.”

JAG is experienced in establishing Retention Programs for valued firm partners. If you would like to learn more about this program or one of our other proven programs, contact us confidentially at

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