Can a Lawyer Practice Law After Selling a Law Practice?

Practice Law After Selling a Law Practice- Allowed?

Many lawyers ask the question: can a lawyer practice law after selling a law practice. To answer this question, we turn to the American Bar Association (ABA) and its Rule 1.17, which provides guidance on this matter.

Practice Law Post-Sale

After the sale, the lawyer may continue to practice law in a different substantive area, jurisdiction, or as part of another firm, as long as they follow the applicable rules and regulations. ABA Rule 1.17 does not impose any restrictions on the seller’s ability to continue their legal career.

Understanding ABA Rule 1.17

ABA Rule 1.17, titled “Sale of a Law Practice,” acknowledges the possibility of selling a practice, emphasizing the need for transparency, client protection, and ethical considerations. This rule is intended to facilitate the transition of a lawyer’s practice while upholding the profession’s ethical standards.

The General Principle

ABA Rule 1.17 recognizes that a lawyer may sell their practice but states that the buying lawyer must be licensed in the same jurisdiction and take over the seller’s entire practice or an entire practice area. The intent behind this rule is to ensure that clients’ interests are protected during the transition.

The Role of Client Consent

Client consent plays a crucial role in this process. Rule 1.17 requires that the clients affected by the sale provide informed written consent. This consent is essential to safeguard the attorney-client relationship and ensure that the clients’ rights are respected.

An interesting ABA Journal article addressed this issue when discussing a lawyer’s ability to practice law when the “practicing” is limited to assisting in the transition. Click the link below to read more. Other blog posts written by lawyer Robert Schaller of the Schaller Law Firm are posted at


In light of ABA Rule 1.17, a lawyer can indeed continue practicing law. This rule provides a framework for the sale of law practices that ensures transparency, client consent, and the preservation of ethical standards. The ultimate goal is to protect the interests of clients while allowing lawyers to transition out of their practice when needed. So, conveying a practice does not mean the end of a legal career but rather an opportunity for new beginnings, provided it is done in accordance with the ABA’s guidelines. Get start selling a law practice with

June 1, 2021 9:11 pm

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