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LIV Launches Succession Planning Tools

Briefs

Cite as: July 2012 86 (07) LIJ, p.12

The LIV has released a suite of tools to help members sell, merge or acquire a small to medium size practice.

Victorian Attorney-General Robert Clark officially launched the LIV Succession Planning Guide on 31 May at the first of a series of succession planning workshops to be held in city, suburban and country locations throughout 2012. Along with the workshops, the tools developed by the LIV include an online diagnostic tool and a comprehensive succession planning guide.

The succession planning program rollout was a key aim for LIV President Michael Holcroft during his presidential year. At the launch, Mr Holcroft told attendees that the tools were developed in response to the concerns of law firm principals, especially those nearing retirement, who had no clear exit strategy.

Legal Services Board figures show over 44 per cent of law firm principals are aged 51 and over and will cease to practise in the next five to 10 years. LIV membership data shows that 55 per cent of practising full members – who are employed in law firms – are currently in firms with 10 or fewer partners. Over 30 per cent of members are sole practitioners.

“There is a structural change occurring in the law, especially in suburban and regional areas, and it is vital that all communities retain legal practitioners and that all Victorians retain access to justice,” Mr Holcroft said.

The succession planning workshops are sponsored by the Victorian Department of Business and Innovation and cover topics including how to measure performance of a practice, strategies to increase a firm’s profitability, risk management and practical planning steps.

Mr Clark said the succession planning tools were “a real value-add” for LIV members. “This is Michael’s brainchild and a project I know he has driven hard from the beginning of this year.

“He has rightly identified this as a key issue for practitioners in the suburban and especially rural and regional areas of Victoria, which he well knows from his background as a practitioner in Mildura.

“This project is very impressive and a very valuable and worthwhile exercise and a pressing issue for all practices [as] the dynamics of legal practice are changing, firms are growing in size and there are issues of how to make that transition.”

Members are encouraged to complete the online Succession Diagnostics Tool (tinyurl.com/79v8mq7) to assess their businesses and to obtain a preliminary assessment of succession planning readiness. For workshop dates go to tinyurl.com/79v8mq7.

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