- Learning Centre
- Lawyer Programs
- Key Resources
- Legal Practice
- Continuous Improvement
- Cultural Competence & Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
- Lawyer-Client Relationships
- Practice Management
- Retirement Guide
- Business Continuity and Succession Plan Guide and Checklist
- Practice Management Assessment Tool
- Professional Conduct
- Professional Contributions
- Truth and Reconciliation
- Sole Practitioner Resources
- Student Resources
- Public Resources
- Disaster Planning and Recovery
- Upcoming Events
- Media Room
- Latest from the Law Society
This guide is designed to provide background information about business continuity and succession planning. Additionally, it identifies items to consider in developing your plan and provides resources where you can find additional information and templates so you can develop a customized plan for your unique circumstances.
*Note: This Guide and Checklist outlines various steps for lawyers to take and is not intended to replace your professional judgment. Nor will any arrangements you make supersede the Legal Profession Act, The Rules of the Law Society of Alberta, Code of Conduct, or the Law Society of Alberta’s ability to step in to protect the public interest should the need arise. Links included in this Guide and Checklist are current as of the date of publication.
Business continuity planning refers to planning for the unexpected. This includes emergencies such as fire, flood, illness or other disaster. A business continuity plan allows you to think through, in advance, how to respond to an unexpected interruption in your business operations. Business continuity planning is also frequently referred to as contingency planning or emergency planning. However, it is more than this. A business continuity plan can also cover planned absences (e.g., vacations or leaves) to ensure your business runs as expected during your absence.
Succession planning refers to planning for a change to the operation of your business. This includes a change in management or ownership, a long-term illness or retirement. A succession plan allows you to think through, in advance, how to transition your business operations through the change, whether anticipated or unexpected.
Succession planning is also an important consideration for those who apply for a judicial appointment. A plan will need to be in place at the time of your application. If needed, it will be activated on extremely short notice and must be designed for such an event.
This guide and checklist may be used to develop your plan. The use of this guide and checklist is not required to develop your plan but provides areas to consider in your planning process. This guide and checklist do not cover all eventualities or practice scenarios. Consider the specific needs of your firm and your practice when developing your plan.
The guide begins with initial considerations for you to contemplate as you start the planning process. It is followed by more specific details for the various items you should consider including in your plan. Additional resources you can consult in developing your plan are also listed.
No matter what resources you use or what other plans you may have in place, your plan needs to be:
- easy to access;
- easy to implement;
- known to your successor lawyer and any staff or family members who may be impacted; and
- adaptable to a variety of situations.
Always keep in mind that your plan must make sense to you and be drafted for someone else to understand and implement.