I coached and mentored a young lawyer in my old firm who was the second chair for one of our most successful litigators. They had a great working relationship, but the clients all looked to him and not her.

When I asked if she had a written business plan with goals, I discovered she didn’t. I suspected her plan was to keep the senior lawyer for whom she worked happy.

I thought that was a good strategy, but she also needed some kind of plan just in case something happened to that lawyer. Thankfully, now 12 years later, nothing has happened to him and she still is his right hand person.

I thought about her again as I have been thinking about the Virginia Tech football season. In our first game against the national champion, Ohio State, we lost the heart and soul of our offense, our quarterback, Michael Brewer. More recently we lost for the season the heart and soul of our defense, cornerback, Kendall Fuller.

What started as a very hopeful season, now looks very challenging. Some even suggest, that the Hokies will not have a winning season for the first time in more than 20 years.

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What happens from here will all depend on how well the replacements of these two top players do. How well are they prepared? We’ll find out this Saturday in a game against Pittsburgh likely in the rain. Nancy and I will be in Blacksburg next Friday night October 9, for the nationally televised game against NC State.

I’ve written many times about business succession in law firms. Are your junior partners prepared to step in the shoes of your baby boomer rainmakers?