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Retiring, Selling or Leaving a Law Firm - Practice Resource Center


Selling a practice

For Sale By Owner: Getting the Most for Your Law Practice
By Maria Kantzavelos, Illinois Bar Journal, October 2012
How much is your practice worth? How can you maximize its value? How do you find buyers? Even if you aren't ready to sell, experts say the time to ask yourself these questions is now.

Turning out the lights
By Donald E. Weihl, Law Office Management and Economics, September 2012
One of the most important issues facing sole practitioners as they approach retirement is planning for the eventual disposition of the practice.

Law firm succession/Exit strategies: Practice continuation arrangements
By John W. Olmstead, Law Office Management and Economics, June 2011
Lawyers must invest time and effort to find suitable successors for their firms and to create useful, equitable, practice continuation agreements.

Seniors, don't sell your law practice. Have fun!
By John W. Damisch, Senior Lawyers, June 2011
A few reasons you should consider keeping your practice.

Selling Out
By Helen W. Gunnarssonn, Illinois Bar Journal, January 2011

Illinois' ethics rules have accommodated sale of a law practice for a few years now, and the 2010 RPC make it even easier. But there are practical issues beyond the ethical ones, like valuation and transition planning. What to do? Two veteran lawyers share their wisdom.

Law firm succession/exit strategies: Valuation of the firm
By John W. Olmstead, Law Office Management and Economics, December 2010
How much is your firm worth?

Law firm succession/exit strategies: Ideas for getting started
By John W. Olmstead, Law Office Management and Economics, June 2010
You should make a succession/exit plan as soon as possible—not just for retirement but for unexpected situations as well—so that your family, employees and clients are not left in the dark if something should happen to you.

Taking Down Your Shingle
By Helen W. Gunnarsson, Illinois Bar Journal, January 2009
Selling or otherwise closing your private practice? Don't forget to take care of important business before you do.

A business planning guide to successor liability laws, part 1
By Janette M. Lohman, Business and Securities Law, December 2008
Before a purchaser buys either all or substantially all of the assets or stock of a business, the purchaser needs to ensure that it is not also acquiring that business' old tax troubles.

Step Right Up…and Bust Some Professional Liability Insurance Myths
By Karen J. Dilibert, Illinois Bar Journal, August 2006

Among the myths: "When I retire and close my practice, I can let my policy lapse."

Avoiding the Cliff-Hanger Ending
By Karen J. Dilibert, Illinois Bar Journal, February 2005

A dissolving law firm can end up sans malpractice coverage, especially if no one thought about insurance until after the split.

What to Do When a Lawyer Dies
By ISBA Legal Department
What happens to a sole practitioner's practice when he/she dies suddenly.

Leaving a practice

Fifty Ways to Leave Your Law Firm
By Karen J. Dilibert, Illinois Bar Journal, June 2001
This article provides general guidance for lawyers planning to leave their current firm ("Old Firm") for a new practice ("New Firm").


Boo Hoo, Nothing to Do!
By Earle Malkin, Senior Lawyers, June 2012
This article is in response to a request to highlight what I believe is a successful retirement. However, I have been most fortunate in attaining this status, and this is personally anecdotal.

Lawyers and Retirement/Oil and Water
By James Moster, Senior Lawyers, February 2012
It is difficult to retire for most people, but it is even more so for lawyers. Most lawyers never think about retirement, because they are too busy to give it much consideration.

Protecting the assets of a retiring attorney
By Gary T. Rafool, Senior Lawyers, June 2011
A few observations and suggestions for any attorney contemplating retirement and supplementing a retirement income with a business venture.

Retired, Inactive, In-House Lawyers Can Now Represent Clients Pro Bono
By Helen Gunnarsson, Illinois Bar Journal, July 2008
Supreme court rules let retired, inactive, and in-house lawyers working through legal-aid providers or other approved groups represent clients pro bono.

ISBA Advisory Opinions on Professional Conduct

  • 07-02 Selling a law practice
  • 03-06 Retaining responsibility for matter after leaving law firm
  • 01-02, 94-14 Closing law firm and client files
  • 95-02, 86-16 Access to files at former firm
  • 92-12 Attorney inability to practice due to senility

Other Resources

Have a suggestion for a practice resource? Please email Mark Mathewson.

These resources are presented as educational resources for for ISBA members. They should not be relied upon as a substitute for individual legal research, and the ISBA does not warrant the accuracy of the information that appears in them.