In the current climate, with every Law firm considering the best strategy for their organization, it is worth taking a serious look at the pros and cons of closure. For many principals, the process of shutting down a law firm can seem overwhelming, but this should not mean that closure shouldn't be seen as a serious strategic option if merger or disposal don't seem to fit the requirements of stakeholders. With some judicious planning, closure can become a straightforward process provided some thought is given to how one navigates through the apparent minefield of regulatory and professional obligations.
Viv Williams Consulting have pulled together a simple checklist of things to consider.
- Retained files - where you store, how access can be gained.
- Notify staff and deal with any settlements.
- Notify contracts and give notice on premises.
- Clients - advise clients, in particular, you need to ensure they understand how to access files.
- Reconciliation - you must ensure any old balances are reconciled, funds paid or repaid and any outstanding fees billed.
- Undertakings - do you have any outstanding undertakings that need resolution?
- Accounts - client account, office and any deposit accounts must be cleared and an orderly closure in place.
- Finalise your last trading accounts.
- How and where are you to store any electronic information held, having regard to GDPR and the ICO?
- Notify the SRA - this may seem the easy part but they will want to know how you will deal with assets, funds and information.
The list is not exhaustive and will depend on each firm, how it operates and holds data, but as a minimum these steps must be actioned, evidenced and accounted for.
It is important to protect yourself to ensure this process is handled professionally and having regard to the regulations. Consequences and obligations remain long after the practice has ceased so it is important to seek help where needed.
The volume of tasks may seem daunting. Viv Williams Consulting are able to assist in each area, either in part or by taking the stress away to manage the entire process. Our experienced team can provide a free no obligation consultation if you wish to discuss any aspect of your business. Click here to book yours.