Succession Planning & Preparing to Exit Practice

All lawyers and law firms must maintain – and review annually – a succession plan for their practice (Regulation 4.6). Succession plans ensure every lawyer’s practice will be covered according to their wishes if they become unable to practice. Clients need to be looked after promptly.

The requirements are similar for succession planning and for preparing to retire or change to non-practising membership status. Good planning means your practice will be more attractive to potential successors.

Succession Planning Toolkit

Main tools

Succession Planning Guide rev. 2023

Succession Planning NSBS Practice Standard

Consult with Legal Services Support

File Management: Keep Only What You Need

File Retention & Destruction Template Policy Template 2023

File Closing Checklist (Word)

Clear Trust Accounts & Return Client Property

Preparing to Close Your Trust Account

Guide for Returning Money or Other Client Property

Guide to Client Property 2023: How to deal with various types, from intake to return

General Succession Planning Aids

Succession Checklist

Template plans for sole & small practices: With trust account or Without trust account

Note: you don’t need to use a template, but your plans should be in writing, known and consented to by your successor, and accessible in case of need. A partnership agreement typically contains much succession planning.

Estate Documents: Effect Your Wishes

These template documents are meant to be adapted using your skill and judgment and adopted at your own risk. Contributed by Tim Hergett, Hergett Law.


Enduring Power of Attorney

Gatekeeper Agreement

Practice Coverage Agreement

Law Corporation Resolution

Recruiting a Successor

Legal Services Support & Schulich School of Law partnered for a very successful regional practice showcase/recruitment event in 2023, likely to be repeated in subsequent years. Schulich’s Career Development Office also held an event for small-med firms. If you want to be involved in future events, make your wishes known through us at [email protected] or the law school at [email protected] Recruitment is often pitched at 2nd year students, so planning helps, as does posting summer or articling jobs.

Questions or support?

Contact the Society’s Legal Services Support to discuss your circumstances and needs.