People often ask, “When is the right time to retire?” But like so many questions about important decisions, there is no “right” answer. To find a meaningful answer, the questions should be reframed as, “When is the right time for me to retire?” And the only person who knows the right answer to that question is you. The key is to ask yourself that question now and then revisit it from time to time throughout your practice. The earlier you begin to think about it, with an eye toward retirement someday in the future, the more likely you are to be ready for a smooth transition out of practice whenever the time comes.
Lawyers tend to work longer than the general workforce. While some lawyers retire in their 50s, others continue into their 80s and even older. According to the recent ABA report, “Profile of the Legal Profession 2021”, roughly 14% of lawyers are 65 or older, double the number of that age group in the general workforce (7%). The Covid-19 pandemic has caused about a third of the lawyers over the age of 62 to reconsider their retirement plans; of that group, about half decided to accelerate retirement (47%) and the remainder (53%) decided to postpone it.