Succession Planning: A Day to Designate Your Custodian Attorney

Published on June 9, 2023 Law Practice Tips

Every lawyer strives to be prepared for each case or deal they’re working on. In the practice of law, we all need to be ready for what could happen should we be unable to work because of disability, impairment, incapacity, or death. If practitioners ignore the possibility that these events could happen, we won’t be prepared when they do. Fortunately, the State Bar of Texas has resources to help at

One simple and important step you can take is to designate a custodian attorney.

What is a custodian attorney? Do I need one? Do I want to agree to be one? 

In the event you are no longer able to practice, the custodian attorney assists in winding down your law practice. The State Bar urges EVERY member to designate a custodian attorney for emergency management and client protection. Solo practitioners and attorneys who practice at small firms especially need to appoint a custodian attorney.

It is important to remember that the designation does NOT bind the custodian to take over the practice and represent clients. Rather, the custodian attorney notifies clients in the event of an emergency that prohibits you from being able to practice, encourages clients to obtain new legal counsel, and assists with file transfers. 

While designating a custodian is important, it is also important to serve as a custodian attorney. As you begin to designate your own custodian, we hope that you will see the value in assisting your colleagues and pass on the favor by serving as a custodian for another attorney or attorneys. 

This year, the State Bar is actively encouraging each lawyer to designate a custodian attorney. Laura Gibson, State Bar President, inaugurated June 21 as the first annual Designate a Custodian Day. June 21, the longest day of the year, was chosen to highlight the fact that each attorney has even more time to designate their custodian attorney. It’s also National Selfie Day, so snap a selfie of yourself after designating your custodian attorney and post it online. Make sure to tag the State Bar of Texas! #IDesignatedMyCustodian

Rebekah Steely Brooker and John Meredith

Rebekah Steely Brooker and John Meredith

Rebekah Steely Brooker is a partner at Scheef & Stone. She is a member of the State Bar of Texas Women in the Profession Committee; Board of Directors 2012-2015.

John Meredith is the Chief Operating Officer for Chamberlain Hrdlicka. He is also the Vice Chair of the State Bar of Texas Law Practice Management Committee.

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