Closing a Law Practice

Dear Texas Attorneys, Judges, Attorney Relatives and Staff, and Members of the Public:

Law practices are not immune from the unfortunate and unexpected events and accidents which occur in everyday life. An attorney’s illness, incapacity, or even suspension due to misconduct, can result in the temporary or permanent closure of a practice.
Although difficult to contemplate, having a contingency plan in place is part of being a good lawyer and will help to (1) fulfill ethical duties towards clients, (2) save Judges, relatives, colleagues and attorney staff from some of the difficulties of a temporary or permanent closing of a law practice, (3) facilitate obtaining new counsel, and (4) reduce potential misconduct and/or malpractice claims. 

The following materials are provided to (1) help Texas Attorneys plan and prepare for events that could render them unable to practice law, and (2) help Texas Judges, members of the public, as well as relatives, colleagues and staff of attorneys, with the closure of an attorney’s practice and finding new counsel, if necessary. Included are resources, as well as sample checklists, court documents, and correspondence.

  • Attorneys: How to Protect Your Clients and Your Firm in the Event of Your Death, Disability, Impairment, or Incapacity

  • Clients: What to Do if Your Attorney Dies, Disappears, Becomes Disabled or is Suspended or Disbarred 

  • Staff and Family Members: What to Do When Your Boss or Relative is No Longer Able to Practice Law 

  • Judges: Guidelines for Assuming Jurisdiction of a Law Practice

  • Custodians: A Handbook for Attorneys Assuming Another Attorney’s Practice

  • Volunteer Custodians Needed!

These materials were prepared by staff of the State Bar’s Law Practice Management Program and Office of the Chief Disciplinary Counsel.  The State Bar of Texas would like to acknowledge and thank the Oregon State Bar and Texas practitioner Jimmy Brill for their generosity, guidance and input. Some of these documents are adapted from the Oregon State Bar Professional Liability Fund handbook Planning Ahead: A Guide to Protecting Your Clients’ Interests in the Event of Your Disability or Death, copyright 2006. For restrictions on use of the materials contained herein please see requirements for use reprinted below.

Hopefully, these materials are useful to you. Please contact Dean Schaffer, Appellate/Special Projects Counsel for the Office of the Chief Disciplinary Counsel, at 800.204.2222, ext. 1326 with any comments or concerns.


The information contained herein is for the use and benefit of Texas attorneys and the public. Nothing on this website constitutes legal advice or establishes a standard of care for Texas attorneys. Attorneys should conduct their own legal research to ensure that they fully comply with the Texas disciplinary rules of professional conduct.

Restrictions for Use of Oregon Materials

All rights are reserved except that members of the State Bar of Texas and their relatives and staff may use this material for assistance with their own law practice or to help a lawyer close his/her office. This material may also be reproduced for classroom instruction or for use by a non-for-profit organization, provided that such use is for informational, non-commercial purposes only and any reproduction of any portion thereof acknowledges original publication by the Oregon State Bar Professional Liability Fund and notes if the material was adapted with permission of the Oregon State Bar Professional Liability Fund.

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