How to support legal professionals in succession planning

TORONTO, June 28, 2022 /CNW/ – The Professional Regulation Committee has launched a consultation process to seek feedback on a recommendation from the Trustee Services Task Force to implement a mandatory succession planning requirement for licensees in private practice. The proposed plan includes developing mandatory succession planning criteria, creating supports and resources to help licensees with succession planning, and reporting and enforcement requirements.

The bilingual logo of the Law Society of Ontario. (CNW Group/The Law Society of Ontario)

The Law Society encourages lawyers, paralegals, legal organizations, members of the public and others to read the recommendations outlined in the Mandatory estate planning consultation report and participate in the consultation by November 30. Input from sole practitioners and licensees in small private practice is particularly critical to this consultation.

When a licensee is suddenly or unexpectedly unable to practice law or provide legal services, clients with active business may have their legal interests compromised. Court appearances may be missed, real estate transactions may not be completed, immigration documents may not be filed, and trust funds may be inaccessible, which may delay pending cases.

“Having a succession plan is a good business decision and is in the public interest. It is also in the best interest of the lawyer or paralegal,” said Jacqueline HorvatTreasurer of the Bar of Ontario. “Having a succession or business continuity plan in place can significantly reduce the burden on the licensee or those close to them to liquidate a business at a time when they are under great stress, while safeguarding the reputation of practice.”

The recommended succession plan requirement specifies adequate information and arrangements to enable the handling of the client’s assets and the management of the licensee’s business activities and would include obtaining a successor licensee who could step in if Licensee is suddenly or unexpectedly unable to work.

A mandatory succession plan requirement would be supported by a full range of resources to help licensees create a succession plan, including a plan template that, if used and completed correctly, will ensure that the licensee’s plan complies with the requirement.

“We definitely need to hear from sole practitioners and small practitioners during this consultation. Their input is critical to the development of this requirement,” said Councilor Megan Shortreed, Chair of the Professional Regulation Committee. . “We need to understand what these licensees see as a reasonable succession plan requirement – ​​what is feasible? What kind of support and resources would be helpful? Please let us know.”

The Law Society has not made any decisions regarding the structure or content of a mandatory succession plan and is open to suggestions and comments from all interested parties.

Interested parties can respond to some or all of the consultation questions at LSO.ca/estate-planning.

After the conclusion of the consultation, all submissions will be reviewed by the Professional Regulation Committee. The Committee will review the submissions and determine whether to make recommendations to the Board.

The Bar regulates lawyers and paralegals in Ontario in the public interest. The Law Society’s mandate is to protect the public interest, to maintain and advance the cause of justice and the rule of law, to facilitate access to justice for Ontario and to act in a timely, open and effective manner.

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SOURCE The Bar of Ontario

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