TIPS OF THE TRADE: SUCCESSION PLANNING: THE IMPORTANCE OF STAYING IN CONTROL
By Kimberly R. McGhee, Esq.*
Every lawyer’s ability to practice can be interrupted or terminated by disability at any time, and every lawyer’s ability to practice will be terminated by death.
This article discusses the continuation, disposition, or termination of the legal practices of lawyers who have lost the ability to practice due to death or disability. It begins by discussing lawyers’ ethical obligations and various practical matters that lawyers planning for succession must consider. It then describes California’s default rules governing the termination of a lawyer’s practice; rules that apply when the lawyer has not made a succession plan. It next examines tools that lawyers can use to create a succession plan that will give them some control over the termination over their practices, increasing protection for their clients, their families, and their assets. Finally, it suggests that the best succession plan might be the sale or transfer of the lawyer’s practice before death or disability and describes how a sale or transfer might be consummated.