What happens when an attorney stops practicing without warning? Health issues, unexpected deaths, and other emergencies can cause attorneys to cease practicing abruptly. Recent studies undertaken by the State Bar of Texas show such instances are on the rise and can leave attorneys’ law partners, or even family members, scrambling to access client documents and close practices. Now the bar is offering a free Succession Planning Toolkit to help.

“The new Succession Planning Toolkit is a one-stop shop for attorneys to find everything they need to plan ahead and prevent their partners or loved ones from being left to handle everything if the unexpected happens,” said bar president Cindy V. Tisdale.

Succession planning was one of the top initiatives of immediate past president Laura Gibson.

“We started studying this issue back in 2018 with a succession workgroup,” she said. “By 2021, those efforts led to a new rule authorizing attorneys to voluntarily designate a custodian attorney to assist with the cessation of practice.”

Now the toolkit provides even more help with shutting down a law practice. It takes attorneys through a series of steps, beginning with designating a custodian and including managing files, closing IOLTA accounts, and more.

The toolkit was created by the State Bar of Texas’ Law Practice Management Committee and Law Practice Management Program.