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  • The Basic Steps to Ethically Closing a Law Practice (an ARDC Publication)
  • Succession Planning at the Smaller Law Firm-A Bigger Challenge (National Law Review)
  • Succession Planning 101 (National Law Review)

More Whitepapers


  • Succession Planning Checklist

More Checklists


  • What the ARDC Wants You to Know About Succession Planning

More Videos

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Eligible ISBA members receive 15 hours of Free Online CLE as a member benefit. Non-members may purchase these programs.

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ISBA Advisory Opinions on Professional Conduct

  • Selling a Law Practice 07-02
  • Disposition of Unclaimed or Unidentified Client Funds 15-02
  • Disposition of Unclaimed Wills 15-03
  • Disposition of Client Files 07-02, 01-02, and 94-14
  • Fee and Noncompete Arrangements 03-06, 97-09
  • Of Counsel Designation 16-04, 03-02
  • Impairment or Incapacity 92-12

Other Ethics Resources

  • Illinois Supreme Court Rule 1.17: Sale or Transfer of a Law Practice
  • Illinois Supreme Court Rule 756 Registration and Fees
  • Illinois Supreme Court Rule 776 Appointment of a Receiver
  • What is a Succession Plan? (ARDC video)

More ISBA Ethics Resources



  • Technology at end-of-life: Estate planning for Millennials
    Steven T. Mann
    Trusts & Estates, September 2017

    As estate planners, we owe it to our clients to make sure they can control how they are represented post-mortem. The fast and ever-changing pace of technology, however, is making this process more and more difficult.

  • Technology at end-of-life: Estate planning for Millennials
    Steven T. Mann
    Standing Committee on Legal Technology, July 2017

    As estate planners, we owe it to our clients to make sure they can control how they are represented post-mortem. The fast and ever-changing pace of technology, however, is making this process more and more difficult.

  • Everything a (senior) lawyer could ever want to know about the Extended Reporting Period (ERP) a/k/a “Tail” coverage
    Leonard F. Amari
    Katherine A. O’Dell
    Senior Lawyers, October 2015

    An explanation of "tail coverage" in retiring attorneys' insurance policies.

  • Retirement from the law practice
    Curtis R. Tobin III
    Senior Lawyers, June 2015

    The author shares his experiences with gradually reducing his responsibility within the firm.

  • Will we let our attorneys … go gentle into that good night …?
    Lawrence Scanlon
    Senior Lawyers, June 2014

    Learn more about the author's proposal for an Illinois Supreme Court-sanctioned ceremony for retiring attorneys.

  • Planning for Retirement: A Life Guide for Attorneys
    Gary R. Gehlbach
    Illinois Bar Journal, October 2012

    As attorneys age and the practice of law becomes more challenging, retirement beckons for many. Planning for that day, however, should be an early-career project.

  • Boo hoo! Nothing to do!
    Earle Malkin
    Senior Lawyers, June 2012

    Some thoughts on what makes a successful retirement.

  • Lawyers and retirement/Oil and water
    James Moster
    Senior Lawyers, February 2012

    A look at why lawyers find it hard to retire.

  • Protecting the assets of a retiring attorney
    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.

  • Law firm succession/Exit strategies: Practice continuation arrangements
    John W. Olmstead
    The Bottom Line, June 2011

    Lawyers must invest time and effort to find suitable successors for their firms and to create useful, equitable, practice continuation agreements.

  • Law firm succession/exit strategies: Ideas for getting started
    John W. Olmstead
    The Bottom Line, 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
    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.

  • Retired, inactive, in-house lawyers can now represent clients pro bono
    Helen W. Gunnarsson
    Illinois Bar Journal, July 2008

    Effective July 1, new supreme court rules let retired, inactive, and in-house lawyers working through legal-aid providers or other approved groups represent clients pro bono.

  • Editor’s Column: Illinois Supreme Court allows retired lawyer to do pro bono work during retirement without requiring annual registration fee
    John T. Phipps
    General Practice, Solo & Small Firm, May 2008

    On March 27,2008 the Illinois Supreme Court adopted a rule change that beginning July 1, 2008 will allow retired and inactive lawyers to do pro bono work in recognized non-profit programs providing legal services.

  • What happens when aging lawyers don’t know when to quit?
    Timothy G. Shelton
    Elder Law, June 2005

    In a Mississippi courtroom in 1979, final arguments in a homicide prosecution at last got underway.

  • Avoiding the Cliff-Hanger Ending
    Karen Erger
    Illinois Bar Journal, February 2005

    Beware: dissolving law firm can end up sans malpractice coverage.

  • Phased retirement: A retention strategy whose time has come
    Janemarie Mulvey Ph.D.
    The Corporate Lawyer, August 2004

    Rather than stopping work altogether, many retirement-age workers today would prefer to simply shift into a lower gear.

  • Practical suggestions on transition or retirment from a law firm
    John W. Damisch
    The Bottom Line, June 2003

    The largest law firm in Illinois is made up of thousands of solo and small law firms. The "Baby Boomer" generation is about to retire.

Selling a Practice

  • Ed Finkel
    Illinois Bar Journal, September 2016

    The market for law firms is still maturing several years after transferring a practice became legal in Illinois. A recent buyer discusses the legal, financial, and ethical considerations.

  • Don’t forget yourself
    Phillip E. Koenig
    The Bottom Line, September 2015

    Some suggestions for lawyers as they consider updating their own estate plans.

  • For Sale by Owner: Getting the Most for Your Law Practice
    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
    Donald E. Weihl
    The Bottom Line, September 2012

    Selling a practice requires planning that begins long before the actual sale transaction is to take place. Here's a look at some of the usual steps to be taken in the sale process.

  • Seniors, don’t sell your law practice. Have fun!
    John W. Damisch
    Senior Lawyers, June 2011

    A few reasons you should consider keeping your practice.

  • Selling Out
    Helen W. Gunnarsson
    Illinois Bar Journal, January 2011

    The 2010 update of Illinois' ethics rules make it easier to sell a law practice. But what about practical issues like valuation and transition planning? Seasoned solos offer advice.

  • Law firm succession/exit strategies: Valuation of the firm
    John W. Olmstead
    The Bottom Line, December 2010

    How much is your firm worth?

  • Editor’s column: Sale of a solo practice update
    John T. Phipps
    General Practice, Solo & Small Firm, January 2003

    We have received a number of excellent comments and suggestions about the proposed transfer of a solo practice and made changes to the original proposed draft rules.

  • Practice transition problems of solos
    Bernard Wysocki
    General Practice, Solo & Small Firm, January 2002

    Probably, the most important project that the General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Section Council has been working on this year, is the work on the proposal for changes to the Rules of Professional Conduct allowing the sale of a law firm by sole practitioners.

Leaving a Practice

  • Law Firm Succession/Exit Strategies: Small Firm Merger: A Case Study of a Solo Attorney that After Two Unsuccessful Attempts Took a Phased Approach to a Merger with a Small Sole Owner Practice
    John W. Olmstead
    The Bottom Line, May 2017

    What to consider when you begin to plan for the eventual succession and transition of a solo practice.

  • Timothy J. Howard
    Senior Lawyers, October 2016

    If you were considering leaving the full-time practice of law, what are your options in registering with the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission (ARDC)? There are four different alternative statuses described in the Illinois Supreme Court Rules. They are “inactive status,” “disability inactive status,” “retirement status” and “permanent retirement status.” The place to begin understanding the differences is Supreme Court Rule 756, which is titled “Registration and Fees.”

  • Leonard F. Amari
    Senior Lawyers, February 2016
    Is there an actual, understandable definition of 'of counsel'? If so, what is it?
  • Trend: Leaving the law
    Sarah Moravia
    General Practice, Solo & Small Firm, April 2015

    Why are so many lawyers unhappy with the profession? What is driving everyone away? And what can be done to minimize this trend?

  • Transitions in the law
    Shital A. Patel
    The Catalyst, April 2011

    Some practical advice to consider when changing practice areas.

  • Succession Planning and the Duty of Diligence
    John Cesario
    Illinois Bar Journal, January 2011

    Succession planning might just be part of your ethical duty of diligence.

  • Leaving with clients in tow
    Helen W. Gunnarsson
    Illinois Bar Journal, June 2003

    If you're leaving your law firm and hope to take business with you, consider these ethical and legal issues.

  • Fifty Ways to Leave Your Law Firm
    Karen J. Dilibert
    Illinois Bar Journal, June 2001

    Before you jump on the train, Jane, read about how tricky it can be to say farewell to your old firm and start or join a new one.