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

Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society, “Succession Planning Guide” (October 2023). 2nd ED. nsbs.org.

Lawyers’ Insurance Association of Nova Scotia, “#9- Succession Planning” (n.d.), Law

Office Management Standards. lians.ca

Consult with Legal Services Support at the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society.

File Management: Keep Only What You Need (1B)

Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society, “NSBS Template File Retention/Destruction Policy” (March 2023). nsbs.org (word document.)

Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society, “NSBS Legal Services Support- File Closing Checklist” (n.d.). nsbs.org (word document.)

Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society “NSBS Legal Services Support- Foundation Document File Checklist” (July 2022). 2nd ED. nsbs.org.

Clear Trust Accounts & Return Client Property (1E)

Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society “Preparing to Close Your Trust Account” (2022). NSBS Legal Services Support. nsbs.org.

Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society “Checklist for Finding a Client to Return Trust Balance or other Client Property” (2023). Legal Services Support. nsbs.org (word document.)

Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society “Guide for Returning Money or Other Property to Lost Clients” (n.d.). Legal Services Support. nsbs.org.

Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society “NSBS Guide to Client Property: Intake, Protection & Return” (n.d.). nsbs.org.

General Succession Planning Aids

Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society “Legal Services Support Checklist- Succession Planning Considerations in development (January 2020). Legal Services Support. nsbs.org.

Template plans for sole & small practices:

Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society “Legal Services Support- Sample Succession Plan in development (January 2020). Legal Services Support. nsbs.org.

*The above is a resource for practices with a Trust Account.

Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society “Sample Simple Succession Plan for Wind-Up (Stewardship with Counsel)” (January 2020). Legal Services Support. nsbs.org.

*The above is a resource for practices without a 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

A collection of template documents meant to be adapted for a small firm using your skill and judgment and adopted at your own risk. Contributed by Tim Hergett, Hergett Law.

Will Clauses

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.