ABA Rule 1.17 Sale of Legal Practice

Lawyers should review ABA Rule 1.17 before buying or selling a legal practice. Some states have enacted versions of ABA Rule 1.17. Lawyers are urged to consult with ethics counsel.

ABA Rule 1.17: Client-Lawyer Relationship

A lawyer or a law firm may sell or purchase a law practice, or an area of law practice, including good will, if the following conditions are satisfied:

(a) The seller ceases to engage in the private practice of law, or in the area of practice that has been sold, [in the geographic area] [in the jurisdiction] (a jurisdiction may elect either version) in which the practice has been conducted;

(b) The entire practice, or the entire area of practice, is sold to one or more lawyers or law firms;

(c) The seller gives written notice to each of the seller's clients regarding:

(1) the proposed sale;

(2) the client's right to retain other counsel or to take possession of the file; and

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Illinois Supreme Court Rule 1.17

Illinois attorneys should study the differences between Illinois Supreme Court Rule 1.17 and ABA Rule 1.17.

Ill. Sup.Ct. R. 1.17 -Sale of Law Practice:

A lawyer or a law firm may sell or purchase, and the estate of a deceased lawyer or the guardian or authorized representative of a disabled lawyer may sell, a law practice, including good will, if the following conditions are satisfied:

(a) The seller ceases to engage in the private practice of law in the geographic area in which the practice has been conducted;

(b) The entire practice is sold to one or more lawyers or law firms;

(c) The seller gives written notice to each of the seller's clients regarding:(1) the proposed sale;(2) the client's right to retain other counsel or to take possession of the file; and(3) the fact that the client's consent to the transfer of the client's files will be presu…

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Selling a Law Practice – Attorney Robert Schaller

Attorney Robert Schaller recently read an interesting article on selling a law practice published by Lawyers Mutual Liability Insurance Company of North Carolina. To read the article click the link.

The issues discussed include: Law Practice Exit Planning; Law Practice Valuation; Six Steps to Prepare Your Practice for Sale; and Eight Key Considerations in a Law Practice Transition Agreement. The Article also provides a variety of helpful checklists.

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Is it OK to “practice” after selling a law practice?

Read this interesting ABA ethics opinion about Rule 1.17 and a lawyer's ability to practice law after selling a law practice. The author discusses a lawyer's ability to "practice law" after selling a law practice when the "practicing" is limited to assisting in the transition. Click the link to read more.

https://www.abajournal.com/magazine/article/ethics_opinion_its_ok_to_practice_after_selling_a_law_practice_to_assist

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Is Selling Your Law Practice Your Exit Strategy?

AboveTheLaw.com recently posted an interesting article about a lawyer's need for an exit strategy when planning the end of a law practice. A happy ending would be the successful sale of the seller's law practice to the highest bidder. But an exit strategy is essential in the event of a worse-case scenario. Read the post and learn more about succession planning.

https://abovethelaw.com/2021/08/what-is-your-exit-strategy/

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