Book Review: Partner Retirement in Law Firms

Partner Retirement in Law Firms, Ronnie Fox (ed) (Globe Law and Business 2020), 136pp., paperback, ISBN: 9781787423428. Also available as an e-book.

This book considers a variety of practical issues to be considered when planning retirement. Although it is aimed at law firms, most of the issues covered would arise in other professional firms, many issues would arise in any partnership or LLP, and some would arise even more widely (particularly financial planning for retirement and the emotional impact of retirement). It is part of the Law Firm Management series, further titles in which can be found at

The authors are all senior practitioners in their areas, and this wealth of experience and expertise is evident in the breadth of coverage in the book, and the careful and authoritative suggestions made for dealing with the various potential difficulties identified. One of the unique features of the book is that it brings together professional advice on many different aspects of retirement – not just legal and financial but also emotional, and not just viewing it as the end of something but as the start of something else, whether that is a new career or a well-funded and rewarding retirement.

The book is divided into seven chapters. These cover the legal issues from the firm’s perspective and that of the retiring partner, accounting issues, tax, financial planning, the emotional impact of retirement, and the possibility of starting a different career.

All of the chapters are well and clearly written. They use frequent and helpful headings and subheadings (I particularly liked the division of part of one of the legal chapters into ‘key’ and ‘less common’ provisions). They also use bullet points, bold and coloured text, and some boxed text, which make it easy to read and ensures that key points are clear. It is also noteworthy that the font size is large – this is a feature of the series, but it did occur to me that it was appropriate given the target audience (and I speak as one who now needs multiple pairs of glasses for different tasks!). Readers may differ in their views on the amount of ‘white space’ on each page, but it would certainly be useful when adding personal annotations or highlighting.

The editor’s preface explains that the books is designed to be read from beginning to end and therefore cross references are unnecessary, but realistically many readers would also use this book to ‘dip into’ for reference, and cross references would have been useful, particularly given the overlap in subject matter between the two legal chapters, between the accounting, tax and financial planning chapters, and between the chapters on emotional impact, financial planning and other career options. Cross references, and index or a glossary would also have been useful in relation to particular concepts or terms which appear in several chapters (for example, anti-embarrassment clauses) or at different points of a chapter (for example, waiting room clauses).

The preface also notes that the book does not contain all the answers but will prompt the reader to ask important questions and seek relevant advice. However, the breadth of the book is impressive, and although it does not purport to provide depth, the authors’ expertise enables their concise advice to include a remarkable quantity of sound, practical suggestions.

In summary, this is a valuable source of authoritative information presented in an accessible format, not just for law firm partners but for all partners (and indeed anyone contemplating retirement). It will also provide students with useful tips on drafting relevant clauses of LLP or partnership agreements.

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