We are a very young company but one of our long term business plan is to invest in the youngsters within our company. We did managed to inspire a few of our previous legal assistants (what lawyers who work for other lawyers are called) to open up their own legal firm and it is considered as a loss on our part. We invested in them and after a year or so, told them that we are banking on them to be an associate and then a partner, and then suddenly, due to peer pressure or better offer, they turned to us and said "Encik Khairul and Cik Suhaila, you both have taught me well but like you, I want to strike out on my own, for better or worse". We can't really stop people from being inspired by us. So, we give them our blessing, even had a few arrangements for them to 'care' for a few of our files before we can get a substitute for them.
In other word, we gamble on them and in the past 11 years, we have not really succeed in getting that one person whom we want to say we would gladly take into our fold as a partner and then, one day, leave the firm to them. Wait a minute, you asked, How old are the two of us? Okay, we are not THAT old. We are still below 40 and can even be called (under the Malaysian concept) as youth, ourselves. Then again, when is it too early to plan? It is better to have a goal in mind on retirement and succession plan as people nowadays want to retire as early as 30s in some developed country.
Yes, we are planning our retirement but in a slightly different angle. We know we will never stop being lawyers who are also business owners. We love the profession too much to retire. And I actually never heard of any lawyer who has been in the legal business (owning a legal firm, not being a legal adviser or such other profession people labeled as being lawyers too) ever retires. What we planned is simple. To pass the baton to a young lawyer where he or she manages and oversee the day to day operation of the firm while we concentrate on marketing and being those whose names are on the firm's letterhead.
As such, we have always on the lookout for these young lawyers who will be willing to take our places and be willing to be guided by us on how to make money while enjoying the profession. And yes, get paid for it. I have seen too many medium sized legal firm closing shop as its owner dies and not having a succession plan. And as one of our plan, we are also offering a law degree scholarship to one of our clerks who have been with us for quite some time and has the passion for law as much as any lawyer.
That story will be another posting altogether....