Byte of Prevention Blog

by Jay Reeves |

The Ethics of Buying or Selling a Law Practice

The NC State Bar has issued an opinion outlining the ethical responsibilities of lawyers who are retiring or phasing out of practice.

Read, print or download NC Formal Ethics Opinion 1 here.

A companion guide is the Lawyers Mutual publication, “Buying or Selling a Law Practice,” which you can read, print or download here.

“A law office is the product of your life’s work,” writes Tom Lenfestey, owner of the Law Practice Exchange and author of the Lawyers Mutual publication. “A law office can also be difficult to establish in today’s economy. Like all ventures, there is value attached to an existing law office – it is just a matter of bringing buyers and sellers together to work out what is that value.”

What would happen to your law practice if you experienced a medical emergency? Who would take care of your clients? What if a key partner dies unexpectedly? What would happen to the firm? If you aren’t sure of the answers to those questions, HELP is available. Lawyers Mutual has assembled a rapid response team to Handle Emergency Legal Problems. Led by our in-house claims attorneys and outside counsel, our team has the training and resources to guide you through difficult professional times. Lawyers Mutual HELP will assess your crisis situation and work with you to craft a workable plan for moving forward. Since 1977, Lawyers Mutual has been there for our insureds and their clients. We have provided professional liability protection for NC lawyers longer than any other insurance company. Want to learn other ways Lawyers Mutual can HELP your practice? Visit our website, give us a call, or drop by our office. You’ll see why Lawyers Mutual is the smart choice for liability coverage in North Carolina.


Buying or Selling a Law Practice: A Risk Management Guide

Below are excerpts from the Lawyers Mutual publication, Buying or Selling a Law Practice: A Risk Management Guide:

  • Your law practice is an investment. “If you are a partner or owner of a law firm, you have invested your time, talent, energy, and money into your practice. You should be able to receive a return on your investment, which will help you in the next phase of your life. If you are an attorney or firm looking to establish a new law office – whether it is to establish your own practice or to expand your footprint to a new area – purchasing an existing law office can provide you with the goodwill and trained staff to help you hit the ground running without the investment of trying to start from nothing in a new area.”
  • Live the dream. “Many lawyers dream of transitioning away from their law practice. Retirement, family, a new career, or some other pursuit comes calling. But the typical question that holds many lawyers back is, ‘how can I afford to live without the income and resources from my practice?’”
  • The sales option. “Few attorneys actually consider the option of selling a practice as the precursor to that next step or even know that doing so is an option. Selling a practice can be a great way to benefit from the value built up over years of work.”
  • Having a plan. “Every lawyer at some point in time needs a plan for when he or she steps away from the legal field and the options for buying or selling a law practice should be considered. Thanks to life’s multitude of unexpected events, that time may be sooner than you think.”


SOURCE: Buying or Selling a Law Practice, A Risk Management Guide


For close to half a century, Lawyers Mutual has been the smart choice for professional liability coverage for North Carolina attorneys. We cover the state from Murphy to Manteo. We insure large firms, solo practitioners and everyone in between. We help new lawyers enter the profession with confidence, and we help keep seasoned veterans safe and successful. The numbers speak for themselves. Lawyers Mutual has been in business since 1977, making us the only insurance carrier to provide continuous protection over that period. Today we insure more than 8000 lawyers in North Carolina. Most of them will stick with us until they retire. Why? Because they know we are here for them today and will be here tomorrow, bringing protection and peace of mind in turbulent times. Visit our website, give us a call, or ask a colleague why Lawyers Mutual is the smart choice for liability coverage.


About the Author

Jay Reeves

Jay Reeves practiced law in North Carolina and South Carolina. He was Legal Editor at Lawyers Weekly and Risk Manager at Lawyers Mutual. He is the author of The Most Powerful Attorney in the World, a collection of short stories from a law life well-lived, which as the seasons pass becomes less about law and liability and more about loss, love, longing, laughter and life's lasting luminescence.

Read More by Jay >

Related Posts