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Retirement for solicitors – From all to nothing

Retirement for solicitors

I’ve worked with many excellent solicitors as they have approached retirement. They are the ones we turn to for their sage wisdom and years of expertise. Then the firm announces that they are retiring and *puff* they are gone. What a waste of experience, often just because the partnership deed says they must bow out gracefully at a certain age or because they have no option if they no longer want to commute and work full time.

I also wonder what that must feel like for them. After practising for 30 or 40 years, suddenly they don’t have to go to work. Obviously there are some who will relish the freedom, but there must be just as many who wonder what they are going to do with themselves. I’m sure it would be far nicer just to slow down a bit, ease gently into retirement, without suddenly giving up a life-long career. Looking ahead I’m pretty sure in that position I would be more than happy to put in another 5 – 10 years before calling it quits, just on a less stressful and gentler basis.

I bet there are swathes of experienced solicitors who would like to continue to work at a slower pace and without all the responsibilities. Those years of expertise can still be put to excellent use, just not under the pressure that being a full partner requires.

There’s also the financial situation to consider. We’re all living longer these days, and even if a very senior solicitor has built up a nice pension pot, none of us know how far that will have to stretch. Continuing to earn an income without having to touch the pension would be far preferable.

I guess some of those retiring solicitors might think about setting up on their own, to continue servicing their favourite clients for whom they have acted for years. But (and I speak from personal experience) that is a lot of hassle, and not necessarily worth it for those extra few years.

Wouldn’t it be great if senior, experienced solicitors could extract their capital from the firm, and work from home as and when it suited them? They could continue to apply their years, of experience and earn a decent income, without having to comply with targets or bother with partners’ meetings.

I think I’d feel a bit miffed if I was put out to pasture, going from hero to zero in the space of 24 hours. But in the changing legal landscape, the option of becoming a consultant solicitor avoids the all or nothing scenario. It avoids the potential of burning out from continuing in a full-time role when actually we’d rather take it a little bit easier. It provides an escape from the yawning chasm of full on retirement, and it can reduce financial worries. It allows more time to spend with the family and undoubtedly leads to better health. What’s not to like?!

If you would like to find out more, please do get in touch with us for a chat. Call me on 0333 400 4499 or email on lucy.tarant@cognitivelaw.co.uk.

You can also visit our Join Us page for more information on becoming a consultant solicitor with Cognitive Law.

Lucy Tarrant