May 01, 2018 Practice Management

Building a Practice: Five Surefire Ways to Wind Down Without Cashing Out

By Gary P. Bauer

Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant.

—Robert Louis Stevenson

1. Fail to Plan for Transition

This is where most practitioners miss the boat. They figure that they will wind down and gradually disappear into the sunset. They assume there is no value in their business with the exception of the physical assets. They might sell the building that they owned and might liquidate furnishings and quit marketing altogether. Isn’t that what lawyers do? Take on less and less business as the client base dries up and then one day, they announce that they are retired. Not once do they consider the value of the goodwill that they have established over the years. And why not? We are never trained to retire from practice or to convert the value of our business to cash. We only exit the practice of law once in our lives, so we have no experience doing this. With very rare exceptions, lawyers practice law, they do not liquidate legal entities.

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