ABA’s Second Season of Service Initiative Focuses on The New Senior Lawyer
CHICAGO August 9, 2007 — At the 2007 Annual Meeting of the American Bar Association, August 9 to 14 in San Francisco, the ABA Second Season of Service Commission will present a program, “Making Your Time and Talent Count,” on August 9, and will introduce a resolution on August 13 to the House of Delegates, the ABA’s policy-making body, supporting the creation of practice rules and guidelines to allow pro bono legal services by qualified retired lawyers, under certain criteria, in all states. That resolution is co-sponsored by the Commission on Law and Aging.
Responding to the personal and professional needs of lawyers who are transitioning from the full-time practice of law into retirement, the ABA Commission on the Second Season of Service has investigated the how to serve lawyers who are nearing the end of their careers.
ABA President Karen J. Mathis introduced the Second Season of Service initiative last August as a way to help lawyers transitioning out of full-time practice. “We know that 40 percent of lawyers practicing today will leave the full-time practice of law within 10 years. The Second Season of Service initiative will provide the tools they need to make this change effectively, while ensuring that their communities continue to benefit from their knowledge and expertise,” said Mathis.
Beginning with quantitative and focus-group research, including surveying members at more than 2,000 law firms, the Second Season of Service Commission looked at law firm retirement practices, identified best practices for lawyers moving out of full-time practice, determined how firms might use the skills of these lawyers, and studied pro bono and community service practices.
Preliminary survey results found that more than half of the firms surveyed require lawyers to retire by a certain age, usually between 60 and 75, and that many firms continue to depend on the knowledge of their transitioning lawyers either as mentors for younger lawyers or to generate new business. For lawyers who maintain client contact as they transition, 70 percent receive malpractice coverage from their firms.
The commission’s research identified a number of needs for lawyers at or nearing retirement age, such as the dues waiver for retired or inactive lawyers engaged in pro bono work.
The commission further determined that a web site was the most effective way to communicate with this group. The web site, www.secondseasonofservice.org, presents a variety of resources, including discussion boards for lawyers to share ideas, a detailed frequently-asked-questions section that offers critical information, and an extensive database of pro bono and public service opportunities throughout the United States with information on insurance, professional standards and licensing requirements for pro bono work.
Judith Kaye, Chief Judge of the State of New York, has led the Second Season of Service Commission during its inaugural year. Serving as co-chairs are Maury Poscover of St. Louis; William Hubbard of Columbia, S.C.; and Vincent Polley of Detroit.
“The most exciting part of our pursuit has been the recognition of the enormous benefits transitioning lawyers bring to our communities when even a small part of their time is dedicated to pro bono and public service.” said Poscover.
Over the next year the commission will refine its research to determine which services have the greatest value, share its findings with state and local bars, and continue to address the needs of transitioning lawyers.
With more than 413,000 members, the American Bar Association is the largest voluntary professional membership organization in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law in a democratic society.