Service Opportunities for Tide of Retirees
Over the next 15 years, a massive movement of up to 400,000 lawyers will step away from full time practice and enter “active retirement.” Many of these lawyers are eager to serve their communities and their colleagues by sharing their skills, energy and expertise (see “Retired, Then Re Energized,” page 52). The ABA Commission on Second Season of Service has laid the groundwork to facilitate their professional transition and maximize this source of volunteer time and talent.
The Second Season initiative uses a multifaceted approach to address the legal needs and talents of lawyers who are leaving active practice but have not developed an exit strategy or explored opportunities available to them. This comprehensive approach draws upon the experience of the commission’s exceptional leadership: its honorary chair, Judith S. Kaye, chief judge of the state of New York; and its co chairs, Maury Poscover of St. Louis, serving as the working chair and leading the member service component; William Hubbard of Columbia, S.C., heading the public service side; and Vincent Polley of Detroit, steering the technology group that bridges the member service and public service components. (A full list of commission members is posted at secondseasonofservice.org.)
The Second Season Web site features discussion boards and a searchable network of pro bono and public service opportunities. The Web site includes information on the new ABA pro bono dues waiver program for retired or inactive lawyers, news stories and articles, a listing of malpractice insurance carriers that provide “tail” coverage, and a detailed section on frequently asked questions.
To develop useful, practical products and services, the commission has undertaken comprehensive research projects. More than 2,000 law firm leaders were surveyed to:
• Understand retirement practices of those in law firm settings.
• Identify best practices for lawyers moving out of full time practice.
• Learn about policies related to pro bono and community service for these lawyers.
• Understand how firms use the skills of these lawyers within and outside the firm.
Some common findings emerge from the preliminary survey results. More than half of the firms surveyed require lawyers to retire by a certain age between 60 and 75 years old. Many of the firms surveyed continue to depend on the skills and expertise of their retiring or transitioning lawyers.
This segment provides mentoring and training for newer lawyers at 55 percent of the firms, and at 76 percent of them, they continue to generate new business. For lawyers who maintain client contact as they transition or retire, 70 percent of firms provide malpractice coverage. More details are available on the Second Season Web site. The commission is conducting a follow up survey of second season lawyers to determine which products and services they value most at their new stage of life. These results will be used to create specially tailored second season packages consisting of new and existing ABA programs and products that target this generation.
Laying the Groundwork
In conjunction with the aba commission on law and Aging, the Commission on Second Season of Service is working on the promotion and passage of practice rules in all of the states that establish guidelines to allow pro bono legal service by qualified, retired or otherwise inactive lawyers under the auspices of qualified legal services or other nonprofit programs. In August 2006, the ABA House of Delegates adopted policy that supports these types of pro bono emeritus rules.
E mail [email protected] if you would like to offer your input on how the ABA can best serve lawyers as they enter their second season.