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A new online form developed by the Law Society of NSW is allowing thousands of the state’s solicitors who run small practices to assure the future of their businesses should they be suddenly unavailable.

President of the Law Society Cassandra Banks said while many of the 6,600 sole solicitor or single principal practices across NSW regularly help clients with wills and enduring powers of attorney, too few of these lawyers have planned for a future without them at the helm.

A new one-step form released by the Law Society is set to streamline that process and leave lawyers with peace of mind for the future of their practice, should something unexpected occur.

“Sole practitioners are particularly vulnerable to disruption if they are suddenly unable to manage their law practice with potentially serious impacts on clients, employees and even the solicitors’ family members, Ms Banks said.

“The Legal Profession Uniform Law empowers the Law Society to appoint an external manager when a principal is unavailable due to death or incapacity, but practitioners are likely to want someone they know and trust to manage their practices, and if necessary, wind them up.

“That’s why I’m encouraging all sole practitioners and principals to nominate their own personal representative and an alternate to ensure clients can continue receiving the attention they need should the unexpected happen.”

The nominated representative can be appointed as Manager or Principal, if needed. They then become responsible for conducting and, if necessary, disposing of a sole practitioner’s law practice, in the event the practitioner cannot.

The Law Society has also issued a checklist for practitioners to use to ensure they complete the requirements and consider matters like whether their nominated representative would be able to step in at short notice or has expertise in that practioner’s particular area of law.

Banks discusses the importance of succession planning in an LSJ Explains podcast with David Viney, the External Intervention Solicitor at the Law Society of NSW, which readers can listen here.