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Succession Planning for Lawyers: Before the Founder’s exit by Gbenga Oyebode MFR Managing Partner, Aluko & Oyebode PowerPoint Presentation
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Succession Planning for Lawyers: Before the Founder’s exit by Gbenga Oyebode MFR Managing Partner, Aluko & Oyebode 35 Moloney Street, Lagos. Introduction. The Nigerian Trend The Nigerian legal practice has been characterized by: Dominance of sole practitioners

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Succession Planning for Lawyers: Before the Founder’s exit byGbenga Oyebode MFRManaging Partner, Aluko & Oyebode35 Moloney Street,Lagos

introduction
Introduction

The Nigerian Trend

The Nigerian legal practice has been characterized by:

  • Dominance of sole practitioners
  • Inability/refusal/failure of legal practitioners to train successors
  • Lack of partnership track within many law firms

This has led to the presence of only a few law firms, versed in various aspects of the law, that are able to compete both locally and internationally.

This presentation focuses on the need for succession through partnership as a means of sustainable development for the Nigerian law firm.

firm succession
Firm Succession

Succession Benefits

Succession creates the opportunity for a successful legal practice, characterized by:

  • Presence of a broad scope of expertise and depth
  • Ability to compete on a larger scale
  • Improved knowledge/skills acquisition
  • Increased revenue for founders and successors
  • Sustainable partnership
firm succession in nigeria
Firm Succession in Nigeria

The application of succession principles in our legal environment has led to:

  • Increase in the number of Partnerships
  • Increase in law firms that are recognized in international circles
  • Increase in better business opportunities for law firms
  • Increase in revenue from diversified sources, using diversified skills
achieving sustainable succession
Achieving Sustainable Succession
  • Vision
  • Paradigm Shift
  • Managing Succession through Structure
  • Recruitment
  • Challenges
vision
Vision

The first step to sustainable partnerships is to envisage it.

Therefore the law firm’s vision should:

  • Be sustainable and geared to keep the firm alive and thriving
  • Endorse the admission of partners to survive the exit of the founder/other partners
  • Promote healthy competition on a local and international level
  • Assure potential partners of a stake in the firm’s existence.
paradigm shift
Paradigm Shift
  • Appreciation of the benefits of succession
  • Willingness to build a succession-structure that:

Creates an enabling environment for specialization

Views successors/partners as investors in the business

  • Willingness to manage challenges
  • Willingness to exit at an agreed date
managing succession through structure
Managing Succession through Structure
  • Relationships between the founder and other partners should be governed by a comprehensive Partnership Agreement
  • Recognition of each Partner’s strengths/contributions
  • Creating a balancing act
  • The Partnership Agreement should provide for admission of new partners and withdrawal of partners, as well as the possible involvement of retired partners.
  • Documented Firm procedures that are independent of the founder/partners and govern every member of the firm
  • Separation of the core legal from the administrative functions of the firm
  • Establishment of an independent accounting unit/Accountability
  • Appropriate Technology Deployment
staffing issues
Staffing Issues

There should be a recruitment plan which makes provision for:

  • Recruitment at different levels within the firm
  • Recruiting persons with similar vision
  • Early identification of potential Partnership material
  • Staff retention/Meritocracy
  • Mentoring staff to become potential partners
  • Staff welfare to include financial and promotional incentives

In addition:

  • Employees must be able to fulfill both the firm vision and their personal vision within the firm
  • Employees must be able to chart a career path within the firm
  • Employees must be able to identify with the firm’s rewarding principles and achieve the highest heights possible within the firm
challenges
Challenges

Financial Considerations

  • Sharing formula-employees wages, partners benefits etc
  • Cost of Recruitment and training to firm standards
  • Firm Expansion and cost implications
  • Macro-economic Impact on decision making
conclusion
Conclusion
  • There are few firms in Nigeria where new partners have succeeded the founder(s) of the law firm.
  • Balancing Act is required in Partnerships
  • There is need to understand the use/application of Partnership Agreements in the sustainable development of any law firm.
  • The key to continued existence lies in building and proper management of the succession/partnership structure.