Closing a Law Practice

What arrangements have you made to protect the interests of your clients should an emergency arise? Does your staff know what to do? Your family?

The State Bar of California Senior Lawyers Working Group was created in January 2013 to address the challenges facing our state’s growing population of older lawyers.  These key initiatives are designed to help lawyers who choose to continue practicing into their senior years as well as protect the public from those who can no longer provide competent representation before their clients are harmed and their professional reputations suffer.

    If you have taken over the practice or cases of a Contra Costa County attorney due to their incapacity or death, please read about the CCCBA Law Office Transition Program.

    Senior Lawyers Resources
    The Senior Lawyers Ethics Resources page is a collection of resources addressing attorney professional responsibility issues that arise in connection with retirement, disability, and death of attorneys. The resources include rules, advisory ethics opinions, articles, publications, and MCLE programs. Most of the links to these resources are internal links to other State Bar pages. Some are external links to local or out-of-state bar association and other websites.

    Wellness Guide for Senior Lawyers and their Families, Friends and Colleagues
    This guide is intended to protect the public and bar members by helping legal professionals take the necessary steps to address health problems that may impact their work. It is designed to increase the understanding of the signs of dementia and other health problems that can impair cognitive skills and alter behavior.

    If you or an attorney you know — a law partner, colleague, friend, spouse or other family member — is or may be impaired because of an age-related condition, it is important to seek help. Reading this material is a good first step in the right direction. 

    Attorney Surrogacy Program
    This program provides a model agreement for the designation of an attorney to administer a lawyer's law practice in the event that the lawyer becomes disabled or incapacitated.  The agreement details the typical responsibilities of the lawyers involved in an "Agreement to Close Law Practice in the Future" and is intended to facilitate compliance with Business and Professions Code Section 6185 and relevant provisions of the Probate Code.http://ethics.calbar.ca.gov/Portals/9/images/pdf_icon.gif

    Make the transition easier and consider these important details now.

    Other Helpful Information:

    Winding Up a Firm: A Checklist

    Winding Up a Sole Practice: A Checklist

    Law Office Transition Program:

    The staff of the CCCBA receives a number of calls each year from clients who just found out that their attorney is ill or has passed away. They want to know who took over the attorney's practice. What will happen to their case? How do they get their file?

    We have been referring clients to the State Bar or the Court. But they usually call back and say that those organizations don't have any information either.

    To fill this gap, the CCCBA is maintaining records of Contra Costa County law offices in transition.

    If you are an attorney who has taken over the practice or cases of a Contra Costa County attorney due to their incapacity or death, please notify Jenny Comages, our Membership Coordinator, by email or call her at (925) 370-2543.

    Please provide the following information:

    Name of the attorney who is incapacitated or deceased
    State Bar #
    Office Address
    Office Phone Number
    Date office was closed

    Name of the attorney who is taking over the practice/cases
    State Bar #
    Office Address
    Office Phone Number
    Email Address
    Additional Information (Such as, you have taken over entire practice; you have taken only certain cases; letters have been or have not been sent to the clients; the files are being held by the court.)

    We hope this service will be of benefit to not only the clients but to our attorneys. Thank you for your help.

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