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It’s time to start planning for when you will step down as managing partner

By Nick Jarrett-Kerr, Visiting Professor, Nottingham Law School

13 September 2012

By Nick Jarrett-Kerr, Visiting Professor, Nottingham Law School

All of us like to think we are both indispensable and indestructible. It is therefore difficult for any managing partner to contemplate who might succeed him and when that event might happen.

A recent survey by Legal Resource Group found that, for firms in the USA with more than 40 lawyers, the average number of years served by managing partners was 8.7 years, up from 7.4 years a couple of years back. There is of course no right or wrong period of tenure for any managing partner – a lot depends on the firm’s size, context and culture.

Some managing partners step down or back within a shorter timeframe than eight to nine years. I remember that, when I was in charge of my firm, I had had enough after nearly eight years; and there were times d...

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