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Team moves: How comfortable is your departure lounge?

Tina Williams undertakes a risk assessment for firms faced with the problem of losing a whole practice area

10 May 2016

Timing is everything. That's why the best time to change a partnership agreement to contain the adverse consequences of losing a key team is when the business is doing well. Unrushed consultation followed by considered and rational debate within the partnership is then possible. This is also a fruitful time to strengthen the firm's culture and re-test the fairness of its remuneration system. The two most commonly cited reasons why a successful team leaves a firm are perceived failures by the firm to reward fairly and an unsupportive culture.

It is tempting to defer difficult discussions until a problem materialises. The announced departure of a team from an important or financially successful practice area can pose a serious problem. Where this is the context for a proposal for significant change to partnership arrangements, partners generally respond emotionally and defensively. The opportunity has been lost.

Firms have deployed numerous tactics to dis...

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