Berks Barrister Fall 2018 - 24

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Book Review
Life After Law
By EDWARD POLL

Reviewed by Donald F. Smith, Jr., Esquire

B

aby Boomers are retiring from the legal profession in
record numbers.
But whatever your generation, it is never too early
to begin planning your retirement. That is the overwhelming
theme of Life After Law by Edward Poll (LawBiz Publishing Co.
2013). It is available on Amazon.com.
Poll is a law practice management expert, author and speaker.
He has counseled many attorneys on starting running and exiting
the practice of law. The book came highly recommended by our
PBA Law Management Consultant, Ellen Freedman.
The book's 11 chapter, easy-to-read format, covers a lot in
its 219 pages-from preparing for the unexpected exit to retiring
from a multi-partner firm to closing a solo practice to creating a
fulfilling post-practice life.
Throughout the book, in addition to his thoughtful analysis
and suggestions, Poll provides lists of many other sources to
consult, some with interesting titles like "When You Go to
Heaven, Will Your Practice Go to Hell?" or "The Lawyer's Career
Change Handbook: More Than 300 Things You Can Do with a
Law Degree." The author has also included an appendix featuring
many form agreements and letters as well as helpful checklists
and timelines, easing the planning process.
The book struck a chord with me. I retired, at the age of 55,
from the practice of law with a multi-partner firm. I set that age
as my goal very early in my career and planned my investments
24 | Berks Barrister

accordingly. Without knowing it, by setting an end-date, I was
following the Poll plan in one respect. But, otherwise, the firm
had no partnership agreement in place to deal with a partner
leaving, and I had not given much thought to transition or life
post-practice.
One year from the magic date, when my partners came to
realize I was actually serious about leaving a lucrative practice, a
partnership agreement was formalized and an associate was hired
as part of a transition plan. We were making progress on the Poll
checklist. That left me to think about my next career.
Poll's advice: "As with all important life decisions, it makes
much more sense to look at the various options and possibilities
and make a proactive choice about what comes next, rather than
being forced to respond to a situation not of your choosing. The
greatest enemy of a soft landing is to stick your head in the sand."
I had a craving to teach in college or law school, but I did
not have the energy to pursue tenure and all that that would
entail at those levels. Then I realized, being an adjunct instructor
would not offer health insurance; Medicare was ten years away
for me. While considering other options, in January of that final
year with the firm, Barbara Kittrell announced her retirement as
Executive Director of the Berks County Bar Association, to take
effect at the end of 2008, the same time I would be leaving the
firm.


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