Sale of a Law Practice

Sale of a Law Practice. In planning for the future of a law practice, lawyers should consider the sale of the legal practice. For many lawyers, who entered private practice in the 1950’s to the early 1970’s and who have viable private practices, this can be a transition to retirement. However, the very lawyers who at this time would most benefit from the sale of their practice may be unaware of or, if they know of the option, may reject it as inappropriate. There is a good reason for that perspective. Prior to the 1990’s, the sale of a law practice was not ethically permitted. Now Rule 1.17 allows a lawyer to value and sell the good will in a successful private practice. Rules of Professional Conduct, 1.17. In addition, a new 2014 ABA Formal Opinion offers practical tips in facilitating the sale of a law practice, including conflicts of interest checks, fee-splitting with the selling lawyer, and agreements on non-billing of clients on transitioning of matters. ABA Formal Opinion 468. In considering retirement plans from the practice of law, small and solo practices should include the option of selling the law practice.

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