|1. California has no statutory method of protecting clients whose lawyers
die or become incapable of practicing law.
2. A disabled lawyer enrolled as an inactive
member is required to complete MCLE courses and may practice law.
3. Only the State Bar of California can assume responsibility for the law practice of a
lawyer who is incapable of practicing law.
4. The superior court may not assume jurisdiction of a law practice due to the lawyer's
excessive use of alcohol.
5. If a disabled lawyer is incompetent to give consent to the superior court's
assumption of jurisdiction over the practice, only the State Bar may petition the superior
court to assume such jurisdiction.
6. If a disabled lawyer is capable of consenting to the assumption of jurisdiction of
his practice, a client could apply to the court for assumption of jurisdiction.
7. Because of client confidentiality, all affected clients must authorize anyone the
court appoints to go through their files.
8. Any lawyer accepting appointment by a court pursuant to Bus. & Prof. Code
§§6190 et seq. can receive compensation for all activities.
9. A person who initiates a court action to assume jurisdiction over a disabled
lawyer's practice is immune from liability.
10. If a client's statute of limitations runs after the application pursuant to Bus.
& Prof. Code §6190 is filed, the client has an additional six months to file the
11. When the court assumes jurisdiction over a disabled lawyer's practice, the lawyer
is involuntarily enrolled as an inactive member of the bar by the State Bar and may only
return to practice after filing a petition with the State Bar Court to terminate the
inactive enrollment, proving through competent evidence that he or she is capable to
return to practice and obtaining an order from the State Bar Court for termination of the
12. After Jan. 1, 1999, any person interested in the estate of a disabled lawyer is
permitted to petition the probate court for appointment of a practice administrator to
take control of the files and assets of the practice of the disabled member.
13. The probate court cannot act on an expedited basis and without notice to all
14. A practice administrator appointed pursuant to §§2468, 9764, or paragraph (22) or
(23) of subdivision (b) of §17200 of the Probate Code can be a non-lawyer.
15. Unless he or she has a power of attorney, a practice administrator cannot take
control of all operating and client trust accounts, business assets, equipment, client
directories, and premises that were used in the conduct of the deceased or disabled
16. A practice administrator may take control and review all client files of the
deceased or disabled member without client consent.
17. The practice administrator may act as successor counsel for a client of the
deceased or disabled member.
18. The lawyer of the conservator of the estate of a disabled lawyer is in the best
position to serve as a practice administrator.
19. The practice administrator need not prove financial responsibility for his or her
20. An appointing court need not appoint the practice administrator nominated by the
This activity has been approved for Minimum
Continuing Legal Education credit by the State Bar of California in the amount of 1 hour,
of which 1 hour will apply to legal ethics.
The State Bar of California certifies that this
activity conforms to the standards for approved education activities prescribed by the
rules and regulations of the State Bar of California governing minimum continuing legal