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Frank had spent his career in the practice of law. An attorney and partner with a legal firm, and now in his early sixties, he was thinking about how he could begin to wind down his career at the firm.

He wasn’t ready to stop practicing law, but he also no longer wanted the demands that came with being a partner in the firm. He always knew he would retire from the firm, but he was struggling with the prospect of letting go entirely.

Frank enjoyed his longstanding relationships with clients and helping them solve their problems. He wanted to see a couple clients through their current challenges. What he didn’t enjoy was the pressure he felt to continue to bring in new clients. Frank found this more taxing with every passing year.

Frank always knew he would retire from the firm, but he was struggling with the prospect of letting go entirely.

He wanted to feel good about how he ended his career with the firm. He had worked long and hard and he wanted to leave feeling like he ended his career on a high note, leaving the firm in a good place.

As he thought about transitioning his client relationships, it was extremely important to Frank that this went smoothly. The relationships were important to him, and to the firm.

What began to emerge was the idea of a different, and interim, role. In this role, Frank would bring new attorneys along in ways that improved retention of valued employees and he would transition his key client relationships in ways that would help the firm retain those clients. He saw this as a win-win for everyone involved. The partners agreed.

Over the next year, Frank commented to his coach that he was working harder than ever, but in a good way. He worked with the firm’s HR and managing partner to put processes in place for new attorneys, while continuing to support his two largest clients through critical times, and mentor the attorneys who had become valued employees of the firm.

Once he began transitioning his client relationships, Frank and his coach began to explore what he wanted to do once he left the firm. He began to put his toe in the water of pursuing new interests outside of work and in doing so he began to envision a life outside the firm.

Frank realized how much he enjoyed mentoring younger people and the gift he had for doing this. He knew that he wanted to continue working with young people in some way. He began exploring various ways he could do this once he retired, including as a volunteer in the community.

When Frank retired eighteen months after moving into his interim role, he felt good about how he ended his career with the firm and excited about the new life that lay ahead of him.

Today, Frank works as a volunteer with high-risk teenagers and young adults. He divides his time between volunteering and pursuing all the interests he had before he retired but never had the time for. Together with a couple of colleagues, Frank also volunteers his legal services to help nonprofit organizations supporting young adults.

As Frank put it, “the work is tremendously rewarding, challenging at times, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

What will a good ending of your career look like to you?

Note: To honor confidentiality and protect the privacy of our clients we do not use names and have altered possibly identifying details in this Case Study.

About Perceptive Leaders LLC

Perceptive is a boutique leadership development and professional transitions consulting firm based in Denver, Colorado serving clients in the US and Canada, since 2005. We have worked with over 1,000 senior organizational leaders and accomplished career professionals to help them recognize opportunities for impactful and substantive change and how to realize that transformational change. For more than 15 years, Perceptive has been helping leaders and their teams transform their leadership. For more information, visit

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