Company loyalty is largely a thing of the past. In today’s fast-paced, highly competitive workforce, employees are more likely to jump to a new job for the right offer regardless of their history with their current employer. This same concept applies to law firms, which are seeing an increase in partner departures.
While losing a partner is just another part of doing business, the development can leave legal marketers and managing partners wondering what needs to be done – if anything – to communicate the departure to the public, clients and the legal community.
In her article “Taking a Strategic Approach to Partner Departures,” Joi D. Neike, Senior Strategist, Marketing & Business Development at Jaffe, provides a thorough primer on how law firms should handle a partner departure. In general, steps to consider include:
- Internal Communications – “The first communication you send internally should be positive and should communicate the firm’s plan for ‘business as usual.’”
- Client Communication – “It is critical that the firm communicate directly and immediately with key clients – both current and recently past – especially those with whom the departing partner works most closely.”
- Initial PR – If you choose to do any media outreach, “Issue a brief statement simply saying that the partner is moving, retiring, etc., and indicate that in no way does the departure disrupt client service.”
- State Bar Requirements – “Be sure to prepare the appropriate staff or website vendor to address the requirements of the state bar guidelines governing your website with respect to a departing attorney.”
How can Jaffe help you manage communicating partner departures?
Jaffe has an experienced team of publicists who have particular knowledge of law firm issues, including the sometimes-difficult decisions that arise in light of a partner departure. We can help your firm determine the best strategy to communicate a partner’s exit to both internal and external audiences. Should the departure create controversy, our crisis communications experts can assist with developing a response plan to protect the reputation of your firm.