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Having a succession plan in place is mandatory and the Law Society is aware that it can be challenging for practitioners to find a successor for their law practice. The Law Society has launched a new tool to assist in connecting practitioners who are in need of a successor with those willing to be considered as a successor.
What is succession planning?
Succession planning refers to the creation of a written plan, appointing another practitioner, that prepares for a change to the operation of your business. Change can come in many forms, including a shift in practicing status, an illness or accident, retirement, or death. It can be something you have long prepared for, or it can be sudden and unexpected.
Succession planning is also an important consideration for those who apply for a judicial appointment, as a plan will need to be in place at the time of your application.
Why is succession planning important?
Succession planning is considered one of the most important business tools for a law practice, especially for sole practitioners. Aside from ensuring that your clients’ interests can be protected in the event that you are unable to continue your practice, a successor agreement can give peace of mind and allow for more secure planning for significant professional and life events, such as retirement, change of career, travel, and planned medical requirements. Without a succession plan, the time and cost of addressing the requirements of active files and to wind up the practice, including trust accounts, can be very substantial, and could include the costs of having a Trustee appointed by the Law Society.
Becoming a successor for another practitioner can also create opportunities for lawyers to build their practice and their professional network.
Who can be a successor?
Any active Law Society of Saskatchewan member can be a successor, but it is your responsibility to satisfy yourself that the potential successor lawyer is right for you and your practice. You can check the current status of the lawyer on the Law Society’s Find Legal Assistance Directory. In the interests of the public, the directory includes the current status of the lawyer, such as whether their license is suspended due to a disciplinary outcome, whether there are restrictions on the lawyer’s practice, or whether they have a discipline history. If a potential successor lawyer does not appear in the Find a Lawyer Directory, they are not currently an active member of the Law Society of Saskatchewan. You can also check Pending Discipline Matters, which lists information about upcoming hearings.
Please visit our website and our new successor page here to review resources and supports and to utilize this new tool in succession planning.