Planning Ahead Guide

Planning Ahead - Establishing an Advance Exit Plan to Protect Your Clients’ Interests in the Event of Your Disability, Retirement or Death

It is not easy to think about circumstances that could render you unable to continue practicing law.  Unfortunately, accidents, illness, disability, planned or unplanned retirement, and untimely death are events which do occur. Under any of these circumstances, your clients’ interests, as well as your own, must be protected.

The New York State Bar Association Planning Ahead Guide is provided to all attorneys as a courtesy of the New York State Bar Association and outlines the steps a lawyer must take to protect his or her clients in the event of a sudden inability to continue in practice.  The Committee on Law Practice Continuity created the guide in 2005 to help attorneys establish an advance exit plan in the event of disability, retirement or death.  The Committee on Law Practice Continuity became a part of the Law Practice Management Committee in 2011.  The LPM Committee updated the guide in 2016 to reference the New York Rules of Professional Conduct. 

Download the entire 2016 book as a PDF (free)
For best viewing, we recommend downloading the PDF to your desktop and opening the file using Adobe Acrobat.

Planning Ahead: Establish An Advance Exit Plan To Protect Your Clients’ Interests In the Event Of Your Disability, Retirement Or Death 

- What If? Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
- Checklist for Lawyers Planning to Protect Clients’ Interests in the Event of the Lawyer’s Disability, Impairment, Incapacity or Death
- Checklist for Closing Your Own Office 
- Checklist for Closing Another Attorney’s Office 
- Checklist of Concerns When Assuming Temporary Responsibility of Another Attorney’s Practice (Disability or Suspension)
- Checklist of Concerns When Assuming Temporary Responsibility of Another Attorney’s Practice (Purchase or Acquisition)
- Checklist for the Fiduciary of a Solo Practitioner
- Checklist for Lawyers' Business Disaster Planning and Recovery
- Agreement to Close Law Practice in the Future 
- Authorization and Consent to Close Law Office
- Limited Power of Attorney to Manage Law Practice at a Future Date
- PCs and PLLCs: Appointing the Appropriate Agent to Manage a Solo Law Practice in the Event of a Death, Disability, Incapacity or Other Inability to Practice Law
- Letter from Planning Attorney Advising that Lawyer is Closing Law Offic
- Letter from Closing or Assisting Attorney advising That Lawyer Is Unable to Continue Law Practice
- Letter from Firm Offering to Continue Representation
- Authorization for Transfer of Client File
- Request for File
- Acknowledgement of Receipt of File
- Law Firm Master List of Contacts and Important Information
- Special Provisions for Attorney’s Will: Instructions Regarding My Law Practice
- Transfer of a Law Practice
- Valuing a Law Practice
- Sample Asset Purchase Agreement
- Confidentiality and Non-Disclosure Agreement
- Interruption of a Practice Due to a Lawyer’s Substance Abuse or Mental Health Issue
 -“Impaired Attorneys: The Firm as Employer,” an article by Paula A. Barran
- New York Human Rights Law
- FAQs re Document Destruction and Preservation
- Selected Excerpts from the CPLR and Judiciary Law
- Selected Appellate Division Rules
- Rules of Professional Conduct
- Selected Ethics Opinions
- “Ten Things Not to Do When You Retire,” an article by David Kee
- HIPAA Form
- ABA FAQs on Extended Reporting Period Coverage

For more information about the Senior Lawyers Section, visit
For more information about Retiring or Selling/Closing your law practice, click here.