My friend Martin called me the other day. He was a tad upset. Having been a partner in one law firm for most of his career, Martin had withdrawn as a partner and continued to work with the firm in his pre-retirement years as “Counsel.” As Counsel, he was an independent contractor and his agreement with his law firm provided that it could be terminated on six months’ notice.
After a few years, Martin’s firm decided to terminate his contract. They said that the financial deal was too favourable to Martin and blamed it on the former managing partner of the firm.
So, they called a meeting and handed Martin a written notice terminating the contract. They were sure to have two partners meet with him to deliver the news so that there would be a witness as to what was said.
In short, the firm handled Martin’s departure in a legally correct and business-like fashion, just as they would have advised any client on how to handle a matter that had the potential for litigation if not dealt with properly.
Martin was not all that upset that the firm had terminated the contract. He was going to fully retire within a year anyway. What made him unhappy was that they treated him like a litigation file instead of like a friend who they had known and worked with for decades.
So instead of being an enthusiastic supporter, super-fan, and referral source for the firm following his retirement, he pretty much ignores them.
Just lawyers being lawyers instead of lawyers being people, and treating people like files instead of human beings. Nothing to see here folks.