Memory Loss in the Legal Profession

Line drawing of dandelions with their seeds blowing away in the wind.It happens every day and is increasing with the aging of the legal population. Lawyers who were once sharp as a tack and never missed a step begin to stumble through simple thoughts, can't find the right words, and begin to mentally wander. 

 

Perhaps there are missed deadlines, personality changes, client complaints, or disciplinary actions. Recognizing the signs of cognitive impairment and knowing what steps to take are crucial in protecting the practice and clients, and preserving the dignity of the affected attorney. 

 

NJLAP offers free and confidential early intervention in a non-threatening and professional environment. Initial baseline screening by trained staff is offered, followed with referral to appropriate resources and onging support.

 

 

Articles, Links & Downloads

Succession Planning: A Business Strategy in the Event of Death or Disability

(One of which is Inevitable)

 

First – Find the Right Person:  Preferable an attorney to cover your cases or be able to assist with closing down your practice.  Define the role:

  • Is the assisting attorney acting as your attorney and therefore not able to represent your clients; or
  • Will this attorney represent your clients?
  • Be sure a conflicts check is done.

 

Second – Trust Accounts:  Consider appointing a different person as the authorized signer on your trust account contingent upon a specific event.  Check with your bank for their requirements.  Choose carefully as you will be held responsible for the authorized signer’s actions.

 

Third – Signed Consent Form: Between you and the assisting attorney defining the responsibility to contact your clients for instructions on transferring their files, authorizations to obtain extensions of time in litigation matters, and authorization to provide all relevant people with notice of the closure of your law practice.

 

Fourth – Financial Affairs:  Define the assisting attorney’s authority to wind down your financial affairs, provide a final accounting to clients, collect fees on your behalf, liquidate or sell your practice, close your IOLTA account, etc.

 

Fifth – Client Notification:  Provide your clients with advance notice of your plan by including it on your Retainer Agreement or Engagement letter.

 

Sixth – Office Procedures:  1) Do not keep original client documents such as wills or other estate plans; 2) Maintain current time, calendar, and billing records; 3) Maintain a manual with office procedures, including how to produce a list of active client names/addresses.

 

For more detailed information and sample forms, visit:

www.nmbar.org/nmbar/docs/formembers/succession/successionhandbook.pdf

 

Download this article as a PDF

It happens every day and is increasing with the aging of the legal population. Lawyers who were once sharp as a tack and never missed a step begin to stumble through simple thoughts, can't find the right words, and begin to mentally wander.
 
Why do some older people remain mentally nimble while others decline? “Superagers” (a term coined by the neurologist Marsel Mesulam) are those whose memory and attention isn’t merely above average for their age, but is actually on par with healthy, active 25-year-olds. Massachusetts General Hospital recently studied superagers to understand what made them tick.

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The Mission of the Committee is to aid lawyer assistance programs (LAPs) in preparing to meet the increasing need for services to senior members of the profession to enhance their continued careers and quality of life. The page contains latest developments and links to informative articles.

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If there is a topic or issue you would like more information about, please email us at info@njlap.org.

If there is a topic or issue you would like more information about, please email us at info@njlap.org.

If there is a topic or issue you would like more information about, please email us at info@njlap.org.

If there is a topic or issue you would like more information about, please email us at info@njlap.org.