Chair'S Column

Chair's Column: January 2020

Senior Lawyers Continuing to Practice

By Albert C. Harvey

“Yes, I am still practicing.” This answer is now given on a regular basis when I see past classmates or colleagues from years gone by. The next question to my affirmative answer is either “Why?” or “Good for you!” For some, I think the hidden response is “I wish I was still a practicing lawyer.”

For me, I still enjoy the pleasure of coming to the office on a regular basis and helping clients or members of my firm deal with interesting legal problems and sometimes difficult dilemmas.

The old saying heard first in law school is “law is a jealous mistress.” I am not sure that I ever appreciated that archaic phrase, but there may be a lesson there. What I know now is that a life in the law is fulfilling and challenging. Why trade it for a so-called life of leisure?

Golf is great, but unless you are a pro, it will not stimulate or excite, even if played daily – at least not for me – or for others I see.

We do not have accurate figures in the Senior Lawyers Division for those who are continuing to practice or those who have retired or those who have gone to other activities. The SLD tries to be a home for all ABA members 62 and older, whether they are in active practice or not. Our publications regularly offer articles on a variety of subjects, some related to law practice, but others to general living, such as personal finance, travel, alternative careers and self-care.

Our Division offers books on practice management as well as on retirement activities. One very popular book which my firm and I recently benefited from is “Of Counsel.” It has recently been published in its fifth edition by Jean Batman. She has incorporated the main points from previous additions and given the book a fresh approach to the issues. As she states, “This edition of the Of Counsel book reflects some changes to the Model Rules of Professional Conduct adopted since the fourth edition was published in 2013, as well as some changes and additions aimed at providing those considering Of Counsel relationship with all of the tools necessary to successfully navigate the process.” Using the main points and forms provided in the book, a lawyer and a willing law firm can develop a valuable option for the law firm and for the senior lawyer ready to step back, but not away from the active practice of law. The “Of Counsel” relationship is still a valuable way for lawyers to stay involved with their law firms and their clients.

The SLD has made as one of its goals the development of an advisory committee composed of senior lawyers in law firms who can meet, discuss, and provide advice to law firms based on their years of experience. Seniors in law firms are often asked to assist with law firm problems as well as developing goals for success. This committee can offer advice to SLD members who can in turn use it to assist their firms with advice and counsel.

We are looking for members of the SLD to join this Law Firm Advisory Committee. If you are a senior, still active with your law firm, we have a place for you. The committee is just getting started so timing is excellent if you want to be a part of this effort, send me an email.

Respectfully,
Al Harvey, Senior Lawyers Division Chair

Author

Albert C. Harvey has an extensive practice in federal and state courts defending doctors, lawyers, architects, engineers, and other professionals. He is involved in complex business litigation, intellectual property disputes, and securities cases.  Mr. Harvey has a special interest in national security and governmental affairs and frequently lectures, teaches, and consults with clients on these matters. In addition, he has served at the state and national levels on setting ethical standards for lawyers and judges. Mr. Harvey recently retired from the United States Marine Corps Reserve with the rank of Major General.