Law Practice Management and Technology

The Bottom Line Volume 37, No 2 April 2016

A Partner’s Disability: What Happens To Your Firm?

By Steven Driss

It’s not easy to find an industry with more legal, binding, business partnerships than in the practice of law. From teams of two to partnerships of hundreds, attorneys forge practice partnerships for all kinds of practical and rewarding reasons. Sharing the financial responsibility of a firm, growing the practice, and collaborating on cases are just a few of the key reasons attorneys flock together. There’s strength in numbers.

But these partnerships also place the individual attorney at risk. I certainly don’t need to tell you just how often accidents or unforeseen illnesses arise. You see it every day. From personal injury claims, to defending insurance companies, to the dreaded wrongful death suits, and everything in between; by and large attorneys have a bird’s eye view on just how impulsively… life happens.

To that end, you’ve undoubtedly protected yourself with insurance in the event of the death of your partner(s). Life insurance or buy-sell insurance policies are imperative. After all, the lost wages from the death of a partner alone would be financially devastating; to say nothing of the stress you’ll find yourself under if you need to be in a position to buy out their portion of the practice. (I’m assuming here, that you don’t want their spouse or child to become your new business partner, thus mandating the buy-out). So, for argument’s sake, we’ll also assume that you have life insurance all locked up.

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