Making a succession plan is like making a will. Sometimes people avoid doing it because they think if they don’t nothing bad will happen to them. But with the pandemic raging on, particularly in Arizona, this is not the time magical thinking. If you don’t have a succession plan for your practice, particularly if you are a solo, now is the time.
The Supreme Court made it clear in Rule 41, of the Arizona Rules of the Supreme Court, that a lawyer’s professional obligation includes “(t)o protect the interests of current and former clients by planning for the lawyer’s termination of or inability to continue a law practice, either temporarily or permanently. Comment  continues to explain that lawyers must “plan for the possibility that they will be unable or unwilling to discharge their duties to current and former clients or to protect, transfer and dispose of client files, property or other client-related materials. As part of their succession plan, solo practitioners should arrange for one or more responsible transition counsel agreeable to assuming these responsibilities.” Lawyers in multi-lawyer firms or government lawyers are not excused from these duties, although that kind of transition may be easier to manage.
Even if you think this will be a difficult exercise, think of how difficult closing your practice will be for your significant others, or colleagues, should you fall ill and be unable to do that. I know, lawyers feel they are invincible, but really, folks, we aren’t.
We have help for you at Practice 2.0. Check our succession planning manual and forms, and our transition counsel checklist if you are considering serving as your colleagues’ designee. If you need more help. we’re here for you. Call us to schedule a 30-minute consultation, 602-340-7332.
Do it! Don’t do it for yourself. Do it for your clients, your family and your friends.