California Bar Journal
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California Bar Journal

The State Bar of California


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Front Page - May 1999
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Lending compassion to a difficult situation
Legal specialist exam set Aug. 29
Board to meet June 25-26
Domestic violence group seeking volunteers
Northern California legal services board to fill five vacancies
Court statistics report now available on CD
For Y2K advice, link through bar's web site
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Trials Digest
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Hear the cries this time
A single letter, a big increase
Train time at the ABA
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From the President - Door to justice must be open
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Letters to the Editor
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Legal Tech - Litigation library great for attorneys out of office
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New Products & Services
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MCLE Self-Study
The Disabled Practitioner
Self-Assessment Test
MCLE Calendar of Events
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Ethics Byte - What to do when a client goes missing
Attorney charged with exposing clients to deportation
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Public Comment

IMPORTANT NOTICE: This article is provided solely for research and archival purposes. MCLE self-study credit is no longer available. Even if you follow the instructions and submit payment you will not be granted MCLE self-study credit. Please note that low-cost MCLE is provided by the California Lawyers Association, pursuant to Business and Professions Code section 6056.


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Self-Assessment Test
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Answer the following questions after reading the MCLE article on what to do when an attorney dies or becomes disabled. Use the answer form provided to send the test, along with a $20 processing fee, to the State Bar. Please allow at least eight weeks for MCLE certificates to reach you in the mail.

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 action.

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 inactive enrollment.

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 affected parties.

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 member's practice.

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 acts.

20. An appointing court need not appoint the practice administrator nominated by the disabled attorney.


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 education.