The criminal bar — defense and prosecution — are a big dysfunctional family. We go at each other hammer-and-tongs in court, but when one of us is wounded or sick, the rest of us usually pitch in to help.
This weekend the family lost one of its own: a defense lawyer whose significant other was a prosecutor passed away.
When a defense lawyer dies, aside from the consolation due her loved ones, her clients have to be taken care of; for the sake of family and clients, fees have to be collected; clients have to be defended; bills have to be paid, offices shut down, and utilities canceled. Most of us don’t have associates or law partners to do all of this for us.
The Harris County criminal defense bar has already started coordinating the winding-up of the deceased lawyer’s practice; many lawyers have volunteered to handle the lawyer’s open cases.
This is not an uncommon situation — we lose a couple of criminal-defense lawyers a year in Houston — but it’s not one we like to think about before it arises.
Please comment, and suggest anything that you think the local criminal defense bar should be sure to do when winding up a lost sister’s practice.