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LawBiz® TIPS – Week of February 23, 2016

Preparing for the Inevitable: An "Estate Plan" for Your Practice

Retirement and death are inevitable, so all lawyers should be prepared in terms of their practice and for the benefit of their clients.

All lawyers should also follow these steps:

  1. Prepare a client list containing all current contact information and status of matters/cases being handled. This listing should be kept current.
  2. Create a memo for each file so that any lawyer who assumes the file will know the strategy developed, the outcome planned, and the tactics anticipated.
  3. Create a buddy system by arranging with a colleague to review all of this information and either take on the cases or provide for other representation without using a state bar conservator paid by the estate. A better alternative is grooming a successor brought on board as an associate or a lateral partner. Ideally, matters can be transitioned to the new lawyer over several years, through ongoing conversations with key clients about the upcoming transition as the successor forges new ties and gets up to speed on what the client needs and expects. Transitioning a successor from inside the firm eliminates ethical concerns and succession worries.

Another alternative for solos is identifying a purchaser for the practice. Usually even the smallest and most personal practices are salable for the right price and under the right terms. Prospective buyers include law firms that are well run and free of debt, and that may themselves be run by successful lawyers positioned to take advantage of the opportunities afforded by purchasing other practices. It’s a win-win situation for both parties, made possible by Model Rule 1.17, which allows for the sale of all or part of a practice. But no matter whether a colleague, successor, or purchaser ultimately takes responsibility, proper planning will give any lawyer peace of mind that ethical snares will not diminish the value of a practice built during decades of hard work.

Are looking for legal advice to assist you with your future endeavors? Contact a legal coach today at 800-837-5880.



Preparing for the Inevitable: An "Estate Plan" for Your Practice

Check out this month's special!

LawBiz® Registry: Buy or Sell Your Practice

Ed Poll on YouTube

Buy or Sell Your Practice 

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"Ed educated me on how to implement a plan for the management of my law offices, which I have set up in Santa Monica. With his help, I was able to conceive and put into effect a business plan which promises not only to simplify my business, but to make it more profitable as well. He readily pinpointed my needs and offered sage advice on what I could do to rectify the problems that I have been facing. For this, I am forever grateful and will highly recommend him to anyone who asks."

Santa Monica, CA

"Ed Poll recently assisted me in valuing and restructuring my law practice. I had built what I thought to be a sound business in my solo professional practice, and wanted above all to maintain what had been built for the sake of staff and clients, but yet remove myself from active practice management. Ed was instrumental in assisting me to create, negotiate and document a transaction that implemented my intended result and that will pay me handsomely for what I have built.

...I would highly recommend the services of Ed Poll to anyone in need of assistance with understanding their business, improving its operations or valuing it for sale or transition to some other operational format."

DMG, R.N., J.D.
Austin, TX


Ed Poll, LawBiz® Management   |   |   |   |


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