Browse Archives | Subscribe | Home

LawBiz® TIPS – Week of March 24, 2015

LawBiz(r) newsletter

Forgive my jubilation, while I can still have some this week. Go Bruins!

They now will play an old nemesis, Gonzaga.

I'm told that it's only the second time a second year coach gets to the Sweet 16 two years in row! The other was Ben Howland, formerly of UCLA who made it to the Final Four in two of his first four years. ?

While this joyous activity has nothing to do with your law practice, it does support the thesis that belief in yourself is a key to your own success. Without that belief (sometimes called "self-esteem"), seldom will success follow.

Ed signature

Transition: The Long Goodbye, Part I

Short and sweet and or long and tearful? Which kind of goodbye is your typical modus operandi?

If you like the short and sweet variety, you will have to rethink your habits when it's time to say goodbye to your law practice. Whether you are retiring completely or merely selling your practice to delve into another area of the law, you will have some chores to do in terms of tidying up the loose ends. Those chores fall into two main areas: ethics and business.

In this article, we will look at ethics concerns. In the next issue, we will examine business concerns.

You will need to gather all old records to create a database of former and current clients. This will be useful for two purposes:

  • To satisfy the rules of professional conduct about notifying current clients of new counsel
  • To create databases for marketing the new practice and assuring the highest future revenue of the firm
Review and satisfy attorney's record-keeping obligations.

Letters of Instruction
You will need to notify current clients that the practice will be sold. Send the notification via certified mail (return receipt requested) to the client's last known address. Create an organization system to keep track of all client notification letters sent in accordance with the rules of professional conduct and to track responses received.

Send out a letter of instruction, to be completed and signed by the client and returned to the attorney, that will explain how the client wants his matters/files handled.

Make sure that you receive letters of instruction from all clients.

Client Files
It is important to deal appropriately with client files, whether closed or open.

For any clients who elect not to go with the buying attorney, assist them in obtaining new legal representation. Offer the names of three competent attorneys as well as the name of your local bar association's lawyer referral service. Keep records of what was sent to whom as well as their responses. Make sure that you get receipts from clients who pick up their files in accordance with their requests to take matters to another attorney. Take into account your jurisdiction's file-retention policies, if any, before shredding files not taken by clients who no longer want the firm to represent them.

Review closed files and contact the clients whose matters are in those files, covering both current and former clients. Depending on clients' instructions or lack thereof, destroy old files (except original documents) as appropriate under your jurisdiction's file-retention policy.

Review and prioritize all open files with emphasis on time-sensitive issues such as statutes of limitations, trial dates, filing deadlines, etc. Also confirm that open client files can withstand the scrutiny of public or outside review.

File appropriate pleadings—including substitution of attorneys, motion to withdraw, motion for continuance, and the like—as may be appropriate for all litigated matters.

Client Trust Accounts
You should transfer client trust accounts to the purchasing attorney.

Client and Employee Assurances
Your clients and your employees will have concerns about your transition.

Continue your obligation to ensure that clients' interests and confidences are protected. Fulfill your fiduciary obligations regarding safekeeping client property.

In addition, focus on the needs and fears of employees to assure a smooth transition to the purchasing attorney.

Obviously, transitioning from your law practice cannot be done quickly. It must be handled with forethought and concern for the clients uppermost in your mind.


Transition: The Long Goodbye, Part I

LawBiz® Registry: Buy or Sell Your Practice

Ed Poll on YouTube

Buy or Sell Your Practice 

Twitter Facebook Linked In YouTube
New Life After Law Coaching Program



"I met with Ed for my first appointment in the Immersion Program, and at that first meeting, he saved me thousands of dollars by encouraging me to change a method of billing I have used for years. Ed validated and encouraged me to change something so simple which was costing the firm money. Ed is insightful, truthful and motivating. I look forward to our future meeting!"

Los Angeles, CA

"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."

Austin, TX


Ed Poll, LawBiz® Management   |   |   |   |


©2015 LawBiz® Management. All rights reserved.

This LawBiz Tips E-Zine is categorized for the following audience(s):

This LawBiz Tips E-Zine is listed under the following categories: