Wednesday, January 9, 2013
Susan A. Berson (Partner, Banking & Tax Group of Leawood, Kansas) has recently published an article entitled, Death of a Practice: After Lawyer Dies, Her Friend Is Faced With Closing Down Her Firm, ABAJournal, Jan. 1, 2013. Provided below is the introduction to the article from ABAJournal:
Sole practitioner Diane Denniston lived her last days in the dining room of fellow Missouri attorney Alicia Beeler Villines this past summer.
A Kansas City-area lawyer of more than 20 years, Denniston had expected to return to her home, as well as to her clients, when she was diagnosed with cancer for a second time in 2011.
“Diane was a warm and caring person,” says Villines, whose practice is in Kearney, about 25 miles north of Kansas City. “I had met her at a bankruptcy CLE, and she became a close personal friend over the past few years.
“Diane had realized her cancer had returned, but her doctors were perhaps not as forthright as they might have been. ... Since late last year, she had been operating under the assumption that her health problems were more temporary and she would be able to return to the practice of law as she did after her first battle with the disease in 2005.”
From a hospital bed, Denniston requested that Villines close down her practice. “When Diane realized that the recurrence of her cancer was going to result in her death in the near future, she turned over her cases to me, signing an agreement to allow me to close her cases and transferring her practice over to me,” Villines says.