Golden Gate University Law Review


Why should a sole practitioner be precluded from entering into an objectively sensible agreement which will provide benefits to him on retirement and to his heirs upon his death? Perhaps the most quoted (though hardly the most persuasive) explanation is contained in an opinion issued by the New York County Lawyer's Association: "Clients are not merchandise, Lawyers are not Tradesmen. They have nothing to sell but personal service. An attempt, therefore, to barter in clients, would appear to be inconsistent with the best concepts of our professional status."

In this article I shall set out the bases for the prohibition of the sale of a law practice, examine those bases, suggest that the legitimate criticisms which have been raised are overbroad, and propose that, in at least some situations, sales should be allowed and, when necessary, appropriate amendments to the Code of Professional Responsibility be enacted.

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