Follow these steps to make the exit process as clean and tidy as possible!
Signatures and authorities
- Any directorships/co sec roles within the group –inc non trading subsidiaries, JVs etc.
- On external authorisations and mandates – eg. bank accounts, subscription services such as PLC, Blueprint, other software and system licenses, regulatory contact points (eg DP registrar, trademark registry, Solicitors Regulation Authority).
- On internal approvals, mandates (eg spend countersignatures), committees (eg audit and risk, new project initiation).
Meetings and email groups
Remove, replace, update
- Email groups, calendar invites (inc accommodation and travel if offsite) access to share drives, databases etc.
- “Thank you, she’s been super and will be missed and, as of [date] please contact [name] instead”.
- "[Name’s] role/purpose/reporting line is…” internal message to go out from the most senior person at the same time.
- Internal email redirect and auto reply and intranet messaging.
- All standing internal training (eg dawn raid guidance) where s/he may be the stated first point of contact.
- Email, chat etc. auto reply, auto forward messaging for his/her email (including a forwarding address and number for personal contacts to be put into the auto reply to advise personally to write again to that address – correspondence should not be read or forwarded).
- Mobile and fixed line voicemail messaging (including monitoring and replying to texts and ensuring that the number is not reallocated to anyone else in the business for six months if she/he is not porting the mobile number).
- Postal forwarding to you from the front desk and protocol for dealing with difficult personal callers to the business – you may get bailiffs trying to possess the front desk (which should always be on Hire Purchase for this reason) at some point because someone may have forgotten to pay a bill!
- Timing of his/her LinkedIn and other online profile changes and content (and yours).
- Non legal external messaging to: other parties, the trade media (better to be prepared).
- Introductions by him/her of you to all trade groups and associations (if any) of which she/he is part and where she/he represents the company or is part of a legal trade grouping/network for the company’s as well as his/her own benefit (eg LinkedIn Trade Groups, AG CDC).
- Messaging to all law firms, co secs, notaries etc:
- you are the new relationship manager as of [date]
- no new or continued work without your prior approval
- all WIP and expenses up to [date] to be sent in draft invoice with time recording by [date]
- all law firms to provide for all live matters a one page max per matter summary of: what the matter is; why it is happening; what the current status is; what the next steps are; what the risks and uncertainties are; what big decisions will need to be made why and when; how much more and over what time is the matter likely to cost in legal fees and other costs.
Assume explicitly that, as this should be front of mind for the matter partner, this will take no more than two hours per matter to do – unless they tell you why before doing the work.
The reason for doing this is to avoid surprises/overlooked items; to give you a good overview of what is going on quickly and conveniently; and not to rely entirely on the exiting person’s memory being perfect.
Jointly with the internal accountant makes sure that the three of you are aligned on:
- invoiced, approved and unpaid: legal, software licence and other legal department bills
- invoiced, but in dispute: legal, software licence and other legal department bills and why, how much is in dispute, current status of the dispute, next steps, knowledge of other party, copy of most recent messages between the parties
- un-invoiced, known, uncontentious: as per approved and when they will be invoiced
- un-invoiced, known, in dispute: why, status, next steps, knowledge of other party, copy of most recent messages
- un-invoiced, unknown: why, status, next steps, knowledge of other party, copy of most recent messages)
- all other: costs, expenses, travel bookings etc. known about by him/her for completeness.
Going through the A-Z lists of: ...”
This may seem a little formulaic – but it is better to discuss what is going on using a structure which is exhaustive rather than merely covering what seems urgent, important or annoying as at today’s date and missing other things:
- professional address book: walk through, who, what, why, when, where contact details are kept and is a proactive or reactive handover notification from him/her to you needed
- internal group address book: ditto
- external contacts, company clients etc: ditto
- advisers: (better to miss none – even if currently passive) – also check contractual status (eg framework agreement and agreed rates in place? Contact partner known? Timing and reason for last contact?)
- projects: purpose, business owners, other key stakeholders, key challenges, issues and risks, next steps (what and when) generally and specifically for legal
- regulatory contacts: ditto
- other communications and contacts: not an exhaustive discussion but just as a quick final check that nothing has been missed.
- Physical: what, where, how ordered, how complete, how up to date – any known gaps or omissions, who else has access.
- Physical archive (on or off site): what, where, how indexed, how accessed (nb check whether record retention policy is up to date and has been followed and, if so, if there is anything currently subject to legal hold for litigation or regulatory purposes).
- Live deal rooms for M&A or disclosure spaces for litigation (physical or virtual): which, why, where, who can access, who pays, how managed, how much longer are they to be kept available.
- Third party record keeping systems: Companies House and other equivalent regulators, data protection registrar, patent registry, trade mark registry – national and international etc. Which ones, who owns the relationships, who pays, what needs filing and renewing and when, what is overdue, what is due in the next three months?
- Internal formal record systems using licensed software: eg Blueprint company secretarial database, other proprietary CRM, procurement, audit and risk, and HR systems. Which ones, who owns the relationships, who pays, what needs filing and renewing and when, what is overdue, what is due in the next three months.
- Formal electronic filing systems within the company (eg Sharepoint, Share Drives, Intranet etc): what is where, why, who can access it, can you access it (and will you still be able to when s/he leaves), is it up to date – if not what needs doing by whom and how?
- Her/his desktop and personal computer drives: demonstrably emptied into structured files that s/he has walked your through; or, worst case, you can access her/his files – and will be able to do so after s/he has left (IT authorisations) – and understand what can be found where:
- her/his email/outlook filing: ditto
- written acceptance from him/her: that his/her email and drives will remain frozen but accessible to you for [six] months after she/he leaves in case there are any gaps which are identified after she/he goes that need to be filled in.