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Re-thinking Retirement

We need to rethink retirement. The common concept of retirement is loaded with negative implications. It suggests withdrawal from work and meaningful activity, and evokes images of doddering old people whose lives are marked by irrelevance, boredom or senility. It’s no wonder lawyers dread the prospect of retirement. Senior partners have spent decades as leaders, rainmakers and trusted advisors. They have no interest in riding off into the sunset or having all they have built come to an end. Yet retirement can also be seen as a gift: a chance to shift gears, explore interests, or pursue adventures that have long been deferred. We need to re-frame the idea of retirement so that senior partners who would like to retire but feel too threatened, embarrassed or unable to imagine what else they could do will embrace the future with eagerness and excitement.

Retirement allows you to make choices about what you want to do in the future without regard to billable hours, demands from others, new technologies or office politics. At a certain point in your career, it is important to consider what you will do next and when you will start. Whether it’s at age 55 or 75, only you can know what that point is.

It is most desirable to enter retirement when you are mentally, physically and financially sound. Life is messy, though; unexpected things happen and people find themselves pushed into retirement earlier than expected. So, it’s…

Law Without Walls

On April 21-22, I attended the Law Without Walls (LWOW) ConPosium at the University of Miami Law School.  Hackathons are now common in law, but LWOW is not your typical hackathon. LWOW is a new and unique model of legal learning that unites students, faculty, law practitioners, and entrepreneurs from around the world “to accelerate innovation at the intersection of business, technology, and law through a dynamic, part virtual, collaborative experience that seeds a community of 21st century-ready global change agents and ultimately transforms the way law and business professionals partner to solve problems.”

I have been honored to serve as a mentor in LWOW since it started in 2011 with 16 students at six law schools: the University of Miami (where it was founded by the incomparable Michele DeStefano), Harvard, New York Law School, Fordham, Peking University, and the University College London. The program now includes more than 100 students from 30 law and business schools, including schools in India, China, Israel, Iceland, Australia, and South Africa. Today, the LWOW Community consists of more than 1,200 students, practitioners, academics, entrepreneurs, and venture capitalists all over the world. This year my terrific team includes students and advisors from Sydney, Paris, Cyprus, London and Germany.

LWOW starts every January with a “KickOff” event where participants come together in person and learn how to operate, communicate, network and innovate in a multicultural, collaborative business environment. Students are then divided into small teams and each team is assigned a problem facing the legal marketplace. For the…