Ethical Issues in the Law Business Affect Family’s Succession Plans

HBO Comedy-Drama succession There has been a powerful incentive for family-owned businesses across America to consider who will take over upon the owner’s death or retirement. That issue is the basis for today’s story, which began with an email from “Robin” about how ethical issues in the legal profession could affect his firm’s succession plans.

Robin wrote, “Mr. Beaver, I am the President of a market research/marketing firm owned by my family. At some point, I want to hand over the reins to my twin sons, both recent college graduates who were in a prelaw program and were quite surprised to be lawyers. They told us how great it would be to be a lawyer, described lectures by their teachers and guest speakers who were lawyers who painted a rosy picture of the legal profession. As we needed frequent consultations with legal counsel, I made him this offer: ‘I will pay for your legal education. After you pass the bar, get some experience working in a law firm that handles our type of cases, and then become our corporate lawyer, and when I retire, you take over.’ He agreed, but then I brought up a point he hadn’t even thought about.


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