On the Horizon for Law Practice Management
As the year draws to a close, our thoughts usually turn to taking stock.
How well did we meet our objectives in the past 12 months? What do we want to accomplish in the coming year? What will things look like in future years? What will I be doing in my next phase of life? Oops, there I go, letting my mind wander again….
How often have you let yourself wander to that mental place where you consider what you will be doing in your next phase? Will it be more of the same? Or something entirely different? Instead of dreaming idly, it makes sense to spend some time in that never-never land of wide-open possibilities, consciously thinking about what it might actually be like to live there someday.
Retirement planning is about more than simply planning your finances (although having enough money obviously is important). Sound retirement planning also is about planning what you will do in the second season of your life. Most of us will not simply go fishing or sit on the porch day in and day out once we leave the full-time practice of law. Just as the majority of us have been through several jobs, and for some of us even several careers, the phase of life after our current labors end might be just another active endeavor. With longer lives and still limber bodies (one hopes!), it is not inconceivable to consider spending your golden years in a whole new vocation.
Sound retirement planning also can make the difference between doing something that you have always wanted to do and spending a lot of time spinning aimlessly before you are able to get started on the rest of your life. So the next time you catch yourself daydreaming, spend a little time in a conscious state of exploration. Make a few notes. Reflect on the possibilities. Study the options. And then figure out what you might need to put in place beforehand. When you sketch out those ideas and put some structure around them, you may find that the ideas are not as crazy as you initially thought.
Articles in this issue are designed to help you focus on successfully transitioning to the later phase of a lawyer's life—and how you can free yourself to enjoy it more, starting today. Throughout this year the Law Practice Management Section is also in a number of ways focusing on what it takes to live a life in the law. From discussion groups on strategic planning and retirement planning in our Finance Core Group, to a discussion group on life balance in our Management Core Group and a career stages Web page, you can find many ways to stay on top of this important aspect of practice management.
At our 2008 Spring Meeting in Santa Fe, we also will spend some focused time looking at how to better manage our lives—past, present and future. I invite you to join in all of these activities and offer your ideas on living a life in the law at every phase. We might just be able to help each other figure it out.