for sole principals
Nominate your Personal Representative and an Alternate.
As sole practitioners, sole principals of incorporated legal practices and sole principals of unincorporated legal practices, (‘sole principals’) you are particularly vulnerable to disruption if you are suddenly unable to manage your law practice.
In response to your vulnerability as sole principals in these circumstances, the Law Society of NSW (‘The Law Society’) has developed a policy to urge you to nominate another legal practitioner as your Personal Representative and an Alternate. Your nominated Personal Representative (or Alternate) would, subject to approval by the Law Society as to suitability, be appointed as Manager under section s334 of the Legal ProfessionUniform Law (NSW) (the Act) and would be responsible for conducting and, if necessary, disposing of your law practice if you are unable to do so.
While the Law Society will not be bound by your Nomination, it will firstly, contact your nominated person in the event of your illness, injury, or death. If the appointment of a manager for your law practice is necessary, the Law Society will give preferential consideration to appointing your Nominated Personal Representative (or Alternate) rather than the appointment of a person nominated by the Law Society.
The Law Society will only appoint a manager of its choosing if your Nominated Personal Representative (or Alternate) are both unable to act or, if it considers that they are both inappropriate for appointment.
There is nothing in the Act to prevent you from entering a private renumeration agreement (‘agreement’) with your nominated Personal Representative (or Alternate).
Where a nomination is made, remuneration will be left to be determined between you and your nominees. The Law Society will not receive, register, store, adjudicate or otherwise become involved with your agreement between you and your nominee insofar as it relates to remuneration for your Personal Representative.
Both your nominated Personal Representative and Alternate must have the relevant qualifications and the capacity to run a practice such as yours. They must have a good working knowledge of your area of practice, hold a principal’s practising certificate, be authorised to receive trust money and be able to step into your role at short notice.
If you do not have this kind of contingency plan in place and you are suddenly unable to manage your practice due to illness, injury or death, The Law Society may need to appoint its own Manager under s334 of the Act. The appointment of a person unfamiliar with the practice could be lengthy and disruptive, and could generate significant costs for your law practice as the costs may need to be recovered for the Public Purpose Fund.
The nominee will, once officially appointed as manager by The Law Society, have full authority to run the practice, including managing the Trust account, in accordance with the Uniform Law. Obviously, the interest of clients will be paramount.
It is important that you work with your nominees in advance to define precisely what your wishes are in terms of running the practice, and/or disposing of the practice. As noted above, The Law Society will not receive, register, store, adjudicate or otherwise become involved with your agreement between you and your nominee as it relates to the management of your practice or its disposal.
As a sole principal of a law practice in NSW you can nominate your Personal Representative and an Alternate by completing this form and returning it to the Law Society Registry (‘Registry’) at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Registry will record the details of your nominated Personal Representative and Alternate on your law practice record.
In the event of your illness, injury or death your nominated Personal Representative (or Alternate) should contact The Law Society’s Professional Standards Department (‘PSD’) as soon as practicable to explain your circumstances and provide notification in writing that they are willing and able to take control of your law practice.
If The Law Society otherwise becomes aware that you have died, or that you are no longer able to manage your law practice, it will contact your nominated Personal Representative. If they cannot take control of your law practice, your Alternate will be contacted and asked if they are able to take control of your law practice as per their arrangement with you.
At the time your nominated Personal Representative (or Alternate) are required to take control of your law practice, PSD will verify that they are able and appropriately qualified to manage your law practice, having regard to their professional experience, experience and credentials and remain fit and proper. If satisfied of these matters, PSD will then recommend to the Council of the Law Society (the Council) to appoint your nominated Personal Representative (or Alternate), as Manager of your law practice under s334 of the Act.
In the event that neither your nominated Personal Representative (or Alternate) are in a position or able to be appointed by the Council to take control of your law practice, the Council will be required to commence an external intervention at the expense of your law practice, you and/or your estate.