Closing or Transitioning a Law Practice

The resources on this page are shared to protect the interests of clients when an attorney’s deteriorating health leads to a practice closing down or a transition in a practice’s leadership.

The State Bar of California Senior Lawyers Working Group was created in January 2013 to address the challenges facing our state’s growing population of older lawyers.

These key initiatives are designed to help lawyers who continue practicing into their senior years and protect the public from those who can no longer provide competent representation.

Wellness Guide for Senior Lawyers and their Families, Friends and Colleagues
If you or an attorney you know is or may be impaired because of an age-related condition, it is important to seek help. This guide is designed to increase the understanding of the signs of dementia and other health problems that can impair cognitive skills and alter behavior.

Senior Lawyers Resources 
This collection of resources addresses attorney professional responsibility issues that arise in connection with retirement, disability and death of attorneys. The resources include rules, advisory ethics opinions, articles, publications and MCLE programs.

Attorney Surrogacy Program
This program provides a model agreement for the designation of an attorney to administer a lawyer’s law practice in the event that the lawyer becomes disabled or incapacitated. The agreement details the typical responsibilities of the lawyers involved in an “Agreement to Close Law Practice in the Future” and is intended to facilitate compliance with Business and Professions Code Section 6185 and relevant provisions of the Probate Code.

When a Lawyer Dies
Guidance for clients and family members of a deceased lawyer.

Successor Lawyer Duties When a Lawyer Die
If you are a lawyer assisting with closing or taking over the practice of a deceased attorney, this webpage contains guidance for you.

Guidelines for Closing or Selling a Law Practice
This information and guidance can be useful not only for the attorney themselves, but also for family members or other lawyers who may need to close the law practice. 

Valuation and succession strategies for lawyers
View a discussion of strategies for determining the value of law firms and outlining how to close shop in an orderly fashion.

CCCBA Law Office Transition Program

The staff of the CCCBA receives a number of calls each year from clients who just found out that their attorney is ill or has passed away. They want to know who took over the attorney’s practice. What will happen to their case? How do they get their file?

To fill this gap, we maintain records of Contra Costa County law offices in transition.

If you’re an attorney who has taken over the practice or cases of a Contra Costa County attorney due to their incapacity or death, please notify Jennifer Comages, our Membership Director, at or (925) 370-2543.

When you reach out, please provide the following information:

Name of the attorney who is incapacitated or deceased
State Bar #
Office address
Office phone number
Date office was closed

Name of the attorney who is taking over the practice/cases
State Bar #
Office address
Office phone number
Email address
Additional Information (such as, you’ve taken over the entire practice; you’ve taken only certain cases; letters have been or have not been sent to the clients; the files are being held by the court)